News

UFT tells Regents: Don’t dilute IEP school psychologist, evaluation and decertification requirements

UFT members who work with students with disabilities have expressed deep concerns about special education cost-saving proposals currently being weighed by the state Board of Regents. The Regents are considering whether to recommend legislation to remove school psychologists from IEP teams, eliminate requirements for certain assessments as part of the initial evaluation and do away with planning and support services for students who are decertified.

The latest “mandate relief” proposal was panned by UFT school psychologists and members of the parent and advocacy community at a June 27 hearing in Brooklyn and by Vice President Carmen Alvarez in formal written comments submitted in July. If this proposal is adopted, in addition to removing the school psychologist as a required member of the IEP team, teams will no longer have information provided by an individual psychological assessment, physical examination, social history and observation when determining eligibility for special education services, developing IEPs and recommending services. Nor would teams have the benefit of functional behavioral assessments when recommending positive behavior supports for students with challenging behavior. The net effect of these proposals will be to rob children of the comprehensive, expert evaluations that they need and deserve, marginalize school psychologists and school social workers, and increase disciplinary suspensions.

The union also opposes repealing planning requirements and support services for students who are decertified. This proposal is penny wise and pound foolish as elimination of decertification support will lead to fewer and later decertification recommendations.

The State Education Department is analyzing the testimony and written comments in preparation for making recommendations to the Regents. The Regents expect to revisit the issues at their November meeting.

Read the Regents’ full proposal.

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