Amendments to the Commissioner's Regulations
Recent amendments to the New York State education regulations will take effect December 8, 2010.
Speech and language services: Some of these amendments have stirred up a bit of controvery, such as the elimination of the minimum speech requirements for (a) students with autism and (b) students who have language disabilities. The old regulations required that "instructional services shall be provided to meet the individual language needs of a student with autism for a minimum of 30 minutes daily in groups not to exceed two, or 60 minutes daily in groups not to exceed six." The highlighted portion is being eliminated and students with autism are not guaranteed any minimum level of services. The change is unsettling because (1) the public schools, which are horribly unequipped to properly educate children with autism, should be looking to enrich their education rather than take away from it, and (2) it has been suggested that this reduction in services is the result of fraudulent activity emanating within the New York State Education Department regarding the delivery of speech services, and the consequences are now being felt locally in the city schools. In addition, the amended regulations which previously provided for a minimum of two 30-minute sessions each week to those students whose disabilities necessitate speech and language services, have now done away with that requirement.
Integrated Co-teaching (ICT, CTT, Inclusion): Typically in this type of class 60% of the students are general education and 40% are special education which would mean that in a class of 24 students, 14 students would be general education and 10 would be special education. Under the current version of the regulations, "the number of [special education] students in such classes shall not exceed 12 students." Under the amended regulations it seems that this number could presumably jump to 14 students. That suggests a larger clas, which would be in line with the current trend of growing class size in NYC public schools.
Other changes include: eliminating the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) and replacing it with the NYSED's Office of Counsel and Office of Special Education; providing that a CSE meeting absolutely "does not include informal or unscheduled conversations with school personnel and conversations on issues such as teaching methodology, lesson plans, or coordination of service provision"; and changing the name of the Office of Mentally Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) to the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).