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Students with Disabilities
Today, most UFT members have daily contact with students with disabilities. They attend community schools and high schools and receive instruction in classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers. For students with the most significant needs, services are provided by District 75 in programs that are co-located in community schools or in special facilities.
Students with disabilities receive services from a wide range of UFT members including general and special education teachers, paraprofessionals, school psychologists and social workers, speech teachers, guidance counselors, occupational and physical therapists, audiologists and school nurses.
Our mission is to ensure that all of our city’s children, including those with disabilities and challenges, receive the supports and services they need to achieve and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The UFT supports members who work with students with disabilities by:
- Providing information on federal, state and NYC Department of Education laws, regulations and policies pertaining to the education of students with disabilities;
- Advocating for research-based programs and services;
- Assisting members and parents in enforcing state regulations and obtaining IEP-mandated supports and services for students with disabilities through the special education complaint process;
- Collaborating with parents, advocates and disability groups to improve services for students with disabilities;
- Visiting schools at the request of the chapter leader to discuss special education issues, answer questions and provide feedback to the building administration;
- Holding citywide meetings where members can receive information regarding new policy initiatives;
- Working closely with functional chapters whose members serve students with disabilities;
- Informing and engaging members regarding pending legislative and regulatory changes affecting special education
The information presented in the topical sections listed in the navigation bar at left is taken directly from the current New York State Education Department and New York City Department of Education publications cited at the end of each section.
Contact your school’s chapter leader if you have questions or concerns about special education issues in your building. Additional support is also available from your UFT district representative and from the special education liaisons in the UFT borough offices.
Parents with questions about the special education reform and the provision of services to their child can use the DOE Resources for Special Ed Reform.
Questions regarding special education laws, regulations and policies may be addressed to Carmen Alvarez, UFT Vice President at Large, Special Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Education Complaint Form
The UFT has an online Special Education Complaint Form for members to alert the union about special education violations. Use the link above to find out more about the UFT Special Education Complaint process and to file a complaint.
Citywide training on special education topics
The UFT isproviding a series of Special Education Professional Development Institutes on a variety of topics including behavioral issues and integrated co-teaching to aid teachers in meeting the academic, behavioral and social needs of all students. All five institutes will be held at UFT headquarters. For more information and to register, view the brochure.
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.
“After our longest-running arbitration in UFT history, the arbitrator agreed with us that the workday provisions in our union contract had been violated,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “It’s a great victory for members.”
Members will be compensated on a pro rata basis for any time outside the regular workday that they were logged into SESIS from September 2011 through Dec. 31, 2012.
Raise the Bar campaign
The UFT’s Raise the Bar campaign is a pro-active effort to ensure that students with disabilities get the services, support and resources they need to suceed. The campaign seeks to educate people about the rights of students with disabilities; to encourage educators and parents to file complaints if those rights are being violated; and to insist that if the services students are getting are not enabling them to meet grade-level standards, those services should be adjusted. The Raise the Bar campaign builds on the successful There is NO EXCUSE campaign, during which 3,190 complaints were filed in a sustained effort to ensure that students received the services and help to which they are entitled.
Hotline to report violations: 212-701-9499
NYC DOE special education publications
Federal laws, regulations and policy guidance
State laws, regulations and policy guidance
Chancellor’s Regulations pertaining to special education
Special education reports
Parent, advocacy and disability organizations
Special education news, blogs and listserves
Research and best practices