Special Education News

Q & A on the issues | January 31, 2013

The UFT on Jan. 3 prevailed in its grievance charging that the Department of Education’s implementation of the Special Education Student Information System required members to work beyond their regular workday. Read this Q&A to find out what that means for you.

News stories | January 31, 2013

The city’s protracted yellow school bus strike has left both parents and teachers increasingly frustrated with Mayor Bloomberg for his failure to negotiate with the union that represents the approximately 9,000 striking drivers and matrons.

What I do | January 17, 2013

Working in the city’s public schools as a speech therapist for 29 years, Robinson has spent the last eight at PS 92 in Harlem.

Vperspective | January 17, 2013

The SESIS arbitration decision and award is a great victory and a much-needed boost in a very difficult year. But while the union took the grievance to arbitration, it was you, the members, who made it a success.

News stories | January 17, 2013

The UFT on Jan. 3 prevailed in its grievance charging that the Department of Education’s implementation of the Special Education Student Information System required members to work beyond their regular workday. The independent arbitrator ordered that UFT members be paid for all the time that they were logged into SESIS outside the regular workday — using the system’s own tracking of their time.

Teacher to teacher | December 6, 2012

With the special education reform in full swing, many of us teachers — especially general education teachers — will find ourselves teaching students with disabilities and possibly collaborating with special education teachers.

National education and labor news | November 1, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education withheld $36 million in special education funds from South Carolina in October, carrying out a penalty imposed on the state for cutting its own spending on special-needs students.

Around the UFT | November 1, 2012

Voicing their questions and concerns, and eager for updates regarding union activities on the education and political fronts, members of the UFT’s chapters for social workers and psychologists, for guidance counselors and for speech improvement teachers met with UFT President Michael Mulgrew on Oct. 22.

News stories | November 1, 2012

Students with disabilities in schools that piloted the Department of Education’s new special education reform actually showed less improvement in performance over the last two years than their peers in other schools, a UFT analysis has found.

News stories | October 18, 2012

With the Department of Education’s implementation of citywide special education reform directing more special-needs students to their neighborhood schools, the UFT, in conjunction with the UFT Teacher Center, on Oct. 4 and 5 sponsored the first in a series of professional development workshops aimed at helping educators meet the academic, behavioral and social needs of the students they might encounter.

Vperspective | September 27, 2012

As the Department of Education implements its special education reform citywide this year, educators who work with students with disabilities will be under tremendous pressure from principals to move children into less restrictive environments regardless of their readiness and regardless of whether the school has the programs and supports to help these kids succeed in their new settings.

Around the UFT | August 2, 2012
Around the UFT | June 28, 2012

It was a bright, sunny day on June 3, but Team Wagner, from Staten Island’s Susan Wagner HS, made it “rain” with a tremendous $11,427 donation to Autism Speaks at the group’s annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraiser.

Know your rights | June 28, 2012

A student with a disability engages in behavior that warrants a superintendent’s suspension under the discipline code. You write up the infraction and send the student to the office. The student is back in class the next day. You ask why. You are told, “You can’t suspend special education students.” Does this sound familiar? In fact, long-term removals are sometimes permissible for students with disabilities — but it’s important to know the rules.

News stories | June 28, 2012

At a June 12 City Council hearing, the UFT called on the Department of Education to delay its overhaul of special education services for a year, saying that training for school staff and further analysis of the results of the pilot program needed to be done before proceeding.

News stories | June 14, 2012

The Department of Education’s special education overhaul has spawned fears among educators who work with children with disabilities that its focus on moving as many students as possible into general education settings will result in many children not receiving the services and support they need to thrive.

Testimony | June 12, 2012

Carmen Alvarez, UFT vice president for Special Education, testified before the New York City Council Education Committee.

Around the UFT | May 24, 2012

UFT President Michael Mulgrew visited the staff of PS 41 on Staten Island on May 2. Mulgrew discussed topics ranging from next year’s mayoral election and the guidelines the Department of Education recently announced about social media to special education reform and the teacher evaluations negotiations.

News stories | May 10, 2012

At the April 18 Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew warned the delegates to brace themselves for the mayor’s attempt to continue his “educational reform” policies beyond his third term.

Around the UFT | May 10, 2012

For the second year in a row, students and staff at PS 396 in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn participated in World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

Chapter news | April 26, 2012

What a year! SESIS Encounter and Medicaid have taken much of my time and energy this year. In this newsletter you will see what steps the UFT has taken on your behalf to deal with the SESIS mess.

Vperspective | April 5, 2012

The Department of Education is rolling out its special education reform to all 1,700 city schools next year. The expectation is that nearly all incoming elementary, middle school and high school students with disabilities will attend the same school they would attend if they didn’t have Individualized Education Programs.

Testimony | March 27, 2012

UFT President Michael Mulgrew testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education.

News stories | March 8, 2012

Testifying at a City Council hearing, UFT President Michael Mulgrew on March 1 took the Department of Education to task for its failure to claim more than $500 million in Medicaid reimbursements for services provided to students with special needs each year.

Know your rights | March 8, 2012

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, students with disabilities are four times more likely to be suspended than students without disabilities. Yet members consistently report that they have been told that students with disabilities can’t be disciplined. So does the Discipline Code apply to students with disabilities?

Testimony | March 1, 2012

UFT President Michael Mulgrew testified before the New York City Council Committees on Education and Finance on the DOE's failure to claim hundreds of millions in federal dollars for special education services.

National education and labor news | February 23, 2012

Back in 2000, disability rights groups challenged the Milwaukee Public Schools and the state’s Department of Public Instruction over how they find and serve children with special needs. The advocates won in every lower court. On Feb. 3, a federal appeals court panel ruled for the school district, saying former students with special needs could not legally be considered a class, meaning that any suit had to represent discrete individuals.

News stories | February 2, 2012

Ten years into Bloomberg’s education reforms, the New York City school system has come full circle and is now shutting down new high schools at the same rate as old ones. High schools established by Bloomberg represent about 40 percent of all existing high schools and 38 percent of the high schools on the closing list.

Editorials | February 2, 2012

It should come as no surprise that a January audit by New York City Comptroller John Liu determined that the city failed to provide individual special education services to many of the students who qualified for such help during the 2009-10 school year.

Around the UFT | February 2, 2012

Just hours after Mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out at the UFT during his State of the City address on Jan. 12, UFT President Michael Mulgrew held a Meet the President event with District 10 members.

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