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1 in 4 Students with Disabilities Still Not Receiving Any or All Services

February 11, 2021

New York, NY, February 11, 2021—After reviewing the NYC Department of Education’s (NYC DOE) report to NYC Council, which finds 1 in 4 students are still not fully receiving their special education services this school year, Barbara A. Glassman, Executive Director of INCLUDEnyc, made the following statement:

We are pleased to see an increase in the citywide percentage of students partially or fully receiving their recommended special education programs and services from November through mid-January. However, no student who receives special education services has “remote instruction” documented on their Individualized Education Program (IEP) as the location where services will be provided. Nearly a quarter of all school-age students with disabilities are not receiving any or all of their mandated services. The quality of specialized instruction and services that has been delivered continues to be inadequate for many students with disabilities, leading to regression and learning loss. 

As a result, we call for the City to reevaluate every student with an IEP by December 31, 2021, in addition to the annual review of their IEP. We also call for NYCDOE to develop and present a citywide plan to adequately address compensatory services by June 30, 2021.

The City also needs to improve special education services. Although we are pleased that the City added sixty new school-based psychologists last school year, there is still a pressing need for more psychologists who are responsible for evaluations. In fact, 30% of IEP meetings were not held within the legal timeline last year for students being evaluated and classified for the first time, delaying services and classroom placements.  

We commend the City for reporting a five percent increase this year in the number of students with disabilities fully receiving instruction and at least some of their services in their recommended programs by the last day of school. Unfortunately, 29,000 students did not receive any or only received part of their special education supports in their recommended setting and program by the end of the year. More than 12,700 students did not receive all their mandated related services such as speech and occupational therapy or counseling. 

We are disappointed that this report fails to provide snapshots on the percentages of related services delivered at multiple times of the year, despite the amendments made last year to Local Law 27 and enacted by City Council. As a result, we do not know when services and appropriate placements begin for students with disabilities or the frequency of the delivery of services. 

The need for improvement right now is critical. Educational outcomes for students with disabilities are directly related to students receiving timely evaluations and services. General education students in Grades 3-8 are three times more proficient in English and Math than students with disabilities and only 50% of students with disabilities in NYC public schools graduate on time compared to 82% of their non-disabled peers.