Thousands of children attending New York public schools never received obligatory services for special education in 2016

In the New York school system, roughly 200,000 individual students receive personalized plans for their education, receiving services for issues such as emotional disturbance problems, general learning disabilities, and speech impairments.

However, thousands of children are not receiving the appropriate services to meet their needs every year.

A report issued by the city revealed that the percentage of students categorized as having fully received necessary services during the school year had increased (59 percent in 2015 to 73 percent in 2016).

Although this is a considerable improvement, the figure still means that over 40,000 students did not fully receive required services, meaning they only received partial services or no services whatsoever.

City law requires that schools who are lacking key staff in the field of special education must provide the staff from a contractor or, if necessary, issuing vouchers to the parents of special-needs students who then must find a provider outside of the school system.

All special needs students have the right to succeed through receiving an appropriate, tailored education

The report revealed that roughly 4,500 vouches – nearly half of the 9,000 issued during 2015-2016 – were not used, partially due to the lack of qualified therapists in certain areas of the city.

Following the release of the report, two special-needs students’ families proceeded to file a lawsuit against the city’s department of education claiming it was infringing on their right to receive an appropriate, free public education for their children.

An advocate of special-needs education students claimed that the fact that certain students were not receiving the services they required in full resulted in poorer performances.

Maggie Morof, the policy coordinator for special education, stated that disabled children are generally doing “far worse” than children in the general education sector.