Adam Dayan, Esq.
Special Education Mandate Relief Proposals (continued)
Following up on the previous blog post -
The following is a list of some of the changes being proposed by the NYS Board of Regents as an effort to reduce the obligations of school districts to parents of children with special needs:
- Eliminate the requirement that a psychologist attend each CSE meeting, and the requirement that a parent member attend each CSE and CPSE meeting
- Eliminate the requirement that a school physician attend the meeting when timely requested by the parent
- Change the requirement that the parent selects the preschool evaluator and instead allow the school district to make that decision
- Establish that all public school districts are approved evaluators for pre-school purposes
- Change the timeline governing school districts' obligation to conduct an initial preschool evaluation from 30 school days from the time of parental consent to 60 calendar days from the time of consent
- Modify the level of required testing with respect to initial evaluations
- Eliminate the requirement that school districts have plans and policies for appropriate declassification when it is determined that an individual no longer has special education needs
Their argument is that NYS went beyond its call of duty when the legislature enacted laws that were stricter than what federal law mandated. In some areas NY law does require things that federal law does not address (seehttp://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/policy/mandaterelief-fed-vs-state.htm). Presumably that was because the legislature understood that federal law didn't go far enough and that education was an issue important enough to require heightened responsibilities. New York is known for its availability of services for children with special needs but at the same time there are many families being deprived of services they are entitled to. As important as the budget is, reducing school district responsibilities can have long-term consequences. I'm not sure if requiring the presence of a school psychologist at IEP meetings is what's breaking the bank or most in need of reform. We need to address the sheer number of students who require special education supports and I'm not sure that our education system is in such a state that we should be looking to abrogate parent and child rights.