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RE: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

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  • Lisa Donlan
    The main issue lies in the role of the CFN s, the invisible virtual support networks that have replaced the old district offices. These CFNs serve 25-30
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 3, 2012

      The main issue lies in the role of the CFN's, the invisible virtual "support" networks that have replaced the old district offices.

      These CFNs serve 25-30 schools looped together by accidents of history, at this point, often spread across 4-5 boroughs, and include all kinds of schools- ES/MS/HS's, varying demographics and pedagogical approaches. 

      I may be wrong but there seems to be no rational rhyme or reason for the groupings of schools in CFNs that then fall under 5 "clusters'.

       That being said, each layer means lots of staffers at the Network and Cluster level.

      These staff members include roughly 4 people who are "accountable" for the special ed reform policy training, support, communication and operations- generally 2 special ed specialists and 2 instructional specialists.

       My guess is that those staffers have themselves been recently "trained" as late as this spring/summer and that they have "arranged" for "trainers" to work w/ some of the schools staffs under their purview throughout the spring, summer and even fall (or later).

       By all reports the trainers used so far have been outside consultants who basically know the Tweed- based PowerPoint/rhetoric, but do not "know" the issues and operations the schools face.
      In typical "kick-the- anthill" style the DoE has rolled out these reforms to 1750 schools teaching more than a million kids with some 75-80K teachers w/ out any data, training or supports in place.

       In the late spring my DLT held a training on the reforms and we had great difficulty finding any of these CFN-based staffers to participate in the training. Out of the 8 different CFNs operating in our small district, only 2 employees (out of 16-32 theoretically qualified and accountable CFN employees) agreed to support our efforts.
       
      All they were able to do was recite the PPT talking points- they had not worked with schools in Phase I to understand the problems the reform will create or to provide solutions to the issues schools are facing now, such as:

      schools are working from budget projections based on estimations of enrollment and the new FSF paradigm that provides less funding for ICT and self contained classrooms and more for SETTS related services ( pushing "inclusion" via important dollars as carrots), so they do not know exactly what resources they have to schedule and manage to address their students needs;

      this problem of matching resources to needs is exacerbated by the shortage of service providers in the DoE system- many students do not get their services because there is no one to provide the service- especially speech therapy, apparently,  due to DoE bureaucratic knots, it seems;

      enrollment is still a moving target ( which is why budgets are projection based) so schools do not know which students they will serve and and what services and configurations their IEPs will require, w/ no CSE to work directly with the schools there is no heads up to help administrators plan for these;

      too, as class sizes rise to the contractual maximums ( and above) across the city , how can a school/ an individual teacher  adequately provide a RTI and differentiated instruction? These reforms posit greater flexibility which necessitates more room, fewer pupils per teacher, more support services and therapies, all of which are made impossible by the administration's centrally-driven practices of imposed budget cuts, overcrowding and reduction in support personnel in schools;

      students, no matter their needs, can not be directed to a different school where the students IEP requirements can be met. Each school must meet the needs of the students that arrive on their rosters, regardless of the capacity of the school to provide those services. If a student requires a 12:1:1 in K but the school has only a 12:1:1 from 3-5 th grade, the school must provide services to the student, which will mean rewriting the IEP to fit the capacity of the school, even if down the street there is a school w/ a seat open in a K level 12:1:1 ( which will go unfunded, as a result).

      These reforms will lead to a number of dangerous and potentially harmful unintended consequences to our students and schools but there seems to be no safe guards or even monitoring ability built into the system.

      This is true of all of the top-down centrally-mandated "reform' policies that get kicked down to the schools to implement as they can and as they see fit, each according to its own capacity and interpretation ( and CFN, supposedly).

       This seems odd to me, since the whole idea behind Mayoral control was supposed to be even-handed centrally-monitored rationally-designed standardized budgets and services to combat the unfair and inequitable district system of the past.

      With the destruction of districts (then Regions, then Boroughs) what we have lost is the ability to monitor and watch dog the process in a community, and of course a place for parents and others to go to call attention to and ask for remedies for the problems these policy changes create.
       
      When the policies enacted fail to meet their own stated goals and there is no loop back system for improvement you can not help but wonder if the policy was designed to accomplish  something other than its stated goal. 

      The stated goals (accountability,  equity, the voice for the voiceless, the civil rights issue of our times, fair student funding, centralized control, decentralized empowerment of schools and principals, integrated charter schools, increased inclusion) seem to be mere slogans that serve to buy off the advocates who would push back and impact, delay or stop these reforms, since they are the ones who know better.

       But if the policy makers know how to scratch us just where it itches, we end up going along with the policy, so great is our desire for the stated outcome.
      We then spend our time doing the monitoring and adjustments any good policy requires, while the deformers rush off to the next reform.

       While we fight to  try to peek in and tweak and complain,  the next destructive tsunami has already been unleashed before we can raise our heads and collectively name the issues and devise solutions ( which should be the job of our centralized accountable education department, but oddly is not since there is no capacity for this).

      The "unintended" consequences of the often-contradictory policies stack up in our schools and communities and there are fewer and fewer people to untangle the complex causes that lead to the problems and concerns we can see.

      The next Mayor had better have some good ideas of how to put Humpty back together again, starting with transparent data (and not the cooked books we get from this DoE) and methods devoid of a political agenda to diagnose the core issues at hand. I am not sure how any of these cats can get walked back into the house at this point, but am dying to hear form the hopefuls how they plan to do it.

      Declaring "mission accomplished" before the actual battle ain't gonna do it!

      Lisa D

      To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
      From: LRN1212@...
      Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2012 10:38:51 -0400
      Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

       

      I was furious when I read the NY Times article.  How clueless can this reporter AND the "Public Advocate" be?  For the past 3 years, I have taught in an ICT class as the regular ed teacher.  I have NEVER received any of this so-called training for the upcoming "special education reform".  From conversations with teachers in many schools, most have NO idea what these "reforms" even mean, but less the "training" to work with IEP students with  less or no services.  
       I am re-posting an email I sent to this list a few days ago (I am not sure if it was posted, as I did not receive it in my email).  Lisa N.

      Re: Job posting: Director for Response to Intervention (RTI) 
      Like these 
      students (with learning disabilities) will have any chance of getting RTI in our growing class sizes of 32 students and budget cuts that have done away with intervention teachers...their only hope IS special education services.  Oh, I forgot, with special education "reform", those services are being cut to the bone. My principal said that they have not received the special ed funding in their budget because the DOE is waiting to find out exactly how many students with IEP's actually show up in each school.  This means that principals can't figure out where to place special ed teachers in the school....leading to many special ed teachers not knowing what they will teach this coming school year and classroom teachers with IEP students don't how many periods they will have support.  I heard principals were recently told that there was some kind of school based team that is supposed to look into how to provide services if the school does not have the special ed teachers needed.  If it cannot be resolved (how can it, if you don't have enough spec ed teachers?), then there is some process to follow that involves filling out stacks of paper......  The only way many schools will be able to "comply" with services for their IEP students, will be to quickly hold IEP meetings to reduce the number of periods students will get services. 


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Leonie Haimson <leonie@...>
      To: nyceducationnews <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
      Cc: leonie <leonie@...>
      Sent: Sat, Sep 1, 2012 11:51 am
      Subject: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

       

      There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.

      The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ  NYT article about the report is here:  http://goo.gl/PWhXc  My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here:  http://goo.gl/inmEa

      Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders.  Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:

      From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.

      Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful – without providing any data or views from the ground.   Here’s an excerpt:

      The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ – who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]

      Recommendations for more funding include the following:

      ·         Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.

      ·         Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.

      So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years.  Class sizes will likely be further increased as  the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.

      For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC

      The NYT article is below.  It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found  “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8

      If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...

      Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

      By AL BAKER
      Published: August 31, 2012
      A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.
      The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.
      Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.
      One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.
      The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.
      But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.
      Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”
      The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.
      The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.
      “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”
      The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.
      Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.
      The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.
      “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.
      Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”
      “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”
      Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.
      As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.
      “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”
      A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.
       
      Leonie Haimson
      Executive Director
      Class Size Matters
      124 Waverly Pl.
      New York, NY 10011
      212-674-7320
       
      Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
       
      Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
       
      Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
       

    • Marge
      My son attends a primary school in D24 with a large population of special ed children (many from out of the school s zone) and I have seen how the staff works
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 3, 2012
        My son attends a primary school in D24 with a large population of special ed children (many from out of the school's zone) and I have seen how the staff works to help these children in so many ways, including raising money for them to attend a Special Olympics on LI, including the self-contained children in mainstream music and gym classes (one autistic boy was even sent to my son's class from his self-contained class for his math lesson since he was at grade-level for math), etc. I do believe that children with special needs shouldn't be sent miles away to attend school, but does that mean that EVERY school should provide for almost every Special Needs child, or is it more advantageous to the children to go to a few schools in each district where their particular needs can be met by the best-experienced teachers and staff? If there are only a few children in each school with certain needs, aren't teachers going to waste time travelling between schools to provide specialized services? (I had a friend who was a speech supervisor when the city was divided into Regions and she was travelling all over western Queens and into Brooklyn to check on the people who reported to her and the schools they were working in. So much time wasted just driving from school to school.)

        --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, LRN1212@... wrote:
        >
        >
        > I was furious when I read the NY Times article. How clueless can this reporter AND the "Public Advocate" be? For the past 3 years, I have taught in an ICT class as the regular ed teacher. I have NEVER received any of this so-called training for the upcoming "special education reform". From conversations with teachers in many schools, most have NO idea what these "reforms" even mean, but less the "training" to work with IEP students with less or no services.
        > I am re-posting an email I sent to this list a few days ago (I am not sure if it was posted, as I did not receive it in my email). Lisa N.
        >
        >
        > Re: Job posting:Director for Response to Intervention (RTI)
        > Like these students (with learning disabilities) will have any chance of getting RTI in our growing class sizes of 32 students and budget cuts that have done away with intervention teachers...their only hope IS special education services. Oh, I forgot, with special education "reform", those services are being cut to the bone. My principal said that they have not received the special ed funding in their budget because the DOE is waiting to find out exactly how many students with IEP's actually show up in each school. This means that principals can't figure out where to place special ed teachers in the school....leading to many special ed teachers not knowing what they will teach this coming school year and classroom teachers with IEP students don't how many periods they will have support. I heard principals were recently told that there was some kind of school based team that is supposed to look into how to provide services if the school does not have the special ed teachers needed. If it cannot be resolved (how can it, if you don't have enough spec ed teachers?), then there is some process to follow that involves filling out stacks of paper...... The only way many schools will be able to "comply" with services for their IEP students, will be to quickly hold IEP meetings to reduce the number of periods students will get services.
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Leonie Haimson <leonie@...>
        > To: nyceducationnews <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
        > Cc: leonie <leonie@...>
        > Sent: Sat, Sep 1, 2012 11:51 am
        > Subject: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.
        > The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ NYT article about the report is here: http://goo.gl/PWhXc My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here: http://goo.gl/inmEa
        > Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders. Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:
        > From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.
        > Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful â€" without providing any data or views from the ground. Here’s an excerpt:
        > The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ â€" who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]
        > Recommendations for more funding include the following:
        > · Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.
        > · Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.
        > So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years. Class sizes will likely be further increased as the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.
        > For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC
        > The NYT article is below. It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.” http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8
        > If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...
        > Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
        > By AL BAKER
        > Published: August 31, 2012
        > A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.
        > The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.
        > Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.
        > One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.
        > The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.
        > But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.
        > Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”
        > The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.
        > The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.
        > “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”
        > The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.
        > Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.
        > The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.
        > “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.
        > Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”
        > “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”
        > Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.
        > As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.
        > “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”
        > A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.
        >
        > Leonie Haimson
        > Executive Director
        > Class Size Matters
        > 124 Waverly Pl.
        > New York, NY 10011
        > 212-674-7320
        > leonie@...
        > www.classsizematters.org
        > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
        > http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson
        >
        > Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
        >
        > Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
        >
        > Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
      • Leonie Haimson
        Given the right training provided to classroom teachers, sufficient expertise including enough specialists to push in, AND small classes, inclusion could be a
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 3, 2012

          Given the right training provided to classroom teachers, sufficient expertise including enough specialists to push in, AND small classes, inclusion could be a wonderful thing. 

           

          But as usual w/ DOE, b/c of  poor planning, mismanagement and a total disinterest in how people on the ground are experiencing their policies, they seem likely to completely botch it all – at tremendous cost to the kids involved.  

           

          Leonie Haimson

          Executive Director

          Class Size Matters

          124 Waverly Pl.

          New York, NY 10011

          212-674-7320

          leonie@...

          www.classsizematters.org

          http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

           

          Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

           

          Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

           

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          From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Marge
          Sent: Monday, September 03, 2012 4:58 PM
          To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

           

           

          My son attends a primary school in D24 with a large population of special ed children (many from out of the school's zone) and I have seen how the staff works to help these children in so many ways, including raising money for them to attend a Special Olympics on LI, including the self-contained children in mainstream music and gym classes (one autistic boy was even sent to my son's class from his self-contained class for his math lesson since he was at grade-level for math), etc. I do believe that children with special needs shouldn't be sent miles away to attend school, but does that mean that EVERY school should provide for almost every Special Needs child, or is it more advantageous to the children to go to a few schools in each district where their particular needs can be met by the best-experienced teachers and staff? If there are only a few children in each school with certain needs, aren't teachers going to waste time travelling between schools to provide specialized services? (I had a friend who was a speech supervisor when the city was divided into Regions and she was travelling all over western Queens and into Brooklyn to check on the people who reported to her and the schools they were working in. So much time wasted just driving from school to school.)

          --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, LRN1212@... wrote:
          >
          >
          > I was furious when I read the NY Times article. How clueless can this reporter AND the "Public Advocate" be? For the past 3 years, I have taught in an ICT class as the regular ed teacher. I have NEVER received any of this so-called training for the upcoming "special education reform". From conversations with teachers in many schools, most have NO idea what these "reforms" even mean, but less the "training" to work with IEP students with less or no services.
          > I am re-posting an email I sent to this list a few days ago (I am not sure if it was posted, as I did not receive it in my email). Lisa N.
          >
          >
          > Re: Job posting:Director for Response to Intervention (RTI)
          > Like these students (with learning disabilities) will have any chance of getting RTI in our growing class sizes of 32 students and budget cuts that have done away with intervention teachers...their only hope IS special education services. Oh, I forgot, with special education "reform", those services are being cut to the bone. My principal said that they have not received the special ed funding in their budget because the DOE is waiting to find out exactly how many students with IEP's actually show up in each school. This means that principals can't figure out where to place special ed teachers in the school....leading to many special ed teachers not knowing what they will teach this coming school year and classroom teachers with IEP students don't how many periods they will have support. I heard principals were recently told that there was some kind of school based team that is supposed to look into how to provide services if the school does not have the special ed teachers needed. If it cannot be resolved (how can it, if you don't have enough spec ed teachers?), then there is some process to follow that involves filling out stacks of paper...... The only way many schools will be able to "comply" with services for their IEP students, will be to quickly hold IEP meetings to reduce the number of periods students will get services.
          >
          >
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Leonie Haimson <leonie@...>
          > To: nyceducationnews <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
          > Cc: leonie <leonie@...>
          > Sent: Sat, Sep 1, 2012 11:51 am
          > Subject: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.
          > The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ NYT article about the report is here: http://goo.gl/PWhXc My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here: http://goo.gl/inmEa
          > Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders. Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:
          > From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.
          > Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful â€" without providing any data or views from the ground. Here’s an excerpt:
          > The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ â€" who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]
          > Recommendations for more funding include the following:
          > · Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.
          > · Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.
          > So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years. Class sizes will likely be further increased as the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.
          > For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC
          > The NYT article is below. It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.” http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8
          > If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...
          > Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
          > By AL BAKER
          > Published: August 31, 2012
          > A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.
          > The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.
          > Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.
          > One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.
          > The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.
          > But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.
          > Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”
          > The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.
          > The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.
          > “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”
          > The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.
          > Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.
          > The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.
          > “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.
          > Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”
          > “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”
          > Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.
          > As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.
          > “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”
          > A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.
          >
          > Leonie Haimson
          > Executive Director
          > Class Size Matters
          > 124 Waverly Pl.
          > New York, NY 10011
          > 212-674-7320
          > leonie@...
          > www.classsizematters.org
          > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
          > http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson
          >
          > Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
          >
          > Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
          >
          > Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >

        • Deborah Meier
          Smaller classes, plus an extra adult, and depending on the numbers one specialist in the building to advise teachers, occasionally observe, etc. can work just
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 3, 2012
            Smaller classes, plus an extra adult, and depending on the numbers one specialist in the building to advise teachers, occasionally observe, etc. can work just fine if one includes maybe as much as 5 special needs kids (1/4th) covering the full range--from not very to very.  That's what we did at CPE and at Mission Hill and it worked most of the time.   The presence of so many less complex learners gas a settling affect on one and all, as does that 2nd adult--andz colleagues who consult each other often, and teachers who keep the same kids for two years and work closely with families, and much else that needs to be thoughtfully put together by those closest to the action.  
            -----
            Deborah Meier

            Note: latest book!! Playing For Keeps (TC Press) by D. Meier, Brenda Engel and Beth Taylor

            NOTE: new e-mail address.  deborahmeier@...

            For more information see website:  http://www.deborahmeier.com







            On Sep 3, 2012, at 5:20 PM, Leonie Haimson wrote:

             

            Given the right training provided to classroom teachers, sufficient expertise including enough specialists to push in, AND small classes, inclusion could be a wonderful thing. 

             

            But as usual w/ DOE, b/c of  poor planning, mismanagement and a total disinterest in how people on the ground are experiencing their policies, they seem likely to completely botch it all – at tremendous cost to the kids involved.  

             

            Leonie Haimson

            Executive Director

            Class Size Matters

            124 Waverly Pl.

            New York, NY 10011

            212-674-7320

            leonie@...

            www.classsizematters.org

            http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

             

            Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

             

            Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

             

            Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

            Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

             

            From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Marge
            Sent: Monday, September 03, 2012 4:58 PM
            To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

             

             

            My son attends a primary school in D24 with a large population of special ed children (many from out of the school's zone) and I have seen how the staff works to help these children in so many ways, including raising money for them to attend a Special Olympics on LI, including the self-contained children in mainstream music and gym classes (one autistic boy was even sent to my son's class from his self-contained class for his math lesson since he was at grade-level for math), etc. I do believe that children with special needs shouldn't be sent miles away to attend school, but does that mean that EVERY school should provide for almost every Special Needs child, or is it more advantageous to the children to go to a few schools in each district where their particular needs can be met by the best-experienced teachers and staff? If there are only a few children in each school with certain needs, aren't teachers going to waste time travelling between schools to provide specialized services? (I had a friend who was a speech supervisor when the city was divided into Regions and she was travelling all over western Queens and into Brooklyn to check on the people who reported to her and the schools they were working in. So much time wasted just driving from school to school.)

            --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, LRN1212@... wrote:
            >
            >
            > I was furious when I read the NY Times article. How clueless can this reporter AND the "Public Advocate" be? For the past 3 years, I have taught in an ICT class as the regular ed teacher. I have NEVER received any of this so-called training for the upcoming "special education reform". From conversations with teachers in many schools, most have NO idea what these "reforms" even mean, but less the "training" to work with IEP students with less or no services.
            > I am re-posting an email I sent to this list a few days ago (I am not sure if it was posted, as I did not receive it in my email). Lisa N.
            >
            >
            > Re: Job posting:Director for Response to Intervention (RTI)
            > Like these students (with learning disabilities) will have any chance of getting RTI in our growing class sizes of 32 students and budget cuts that have done away with intervention teachers...their only hope IS special education services. Oh, I forgot, with special education "reform", those services are being cut to the bone. My principal said that they have not received the special ed funding in their budget because the DOE is waiting to find out exactly how many students with IEP's actually show up in each school. This means that principals can't figure out where to place special ed teachers in the school....leading to many special ed teachers not knowing what they will teach this coming school year and classroom teachers with IEP students don't how many periods they will have support. I heard principals were recently told that there was some kind of school based team that is supposed to look into how to provide services if the school does not have the special ed teachers needed. If it cannot be resolved (how can it, if you don't have enough spec ed teachers?), then there is some process to follow that involves filling out stacks of paper...... The only way many schools will be able to "comply" with services for their IEP students, will be to quickly hold IEP meetings to reduce the number of periods students will get services.
            >
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Leonie Haimson <leonie@...>
            > To: nyceducationnews <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
            > Cc: leonie <leonie@...>
            > Sent: Sat, Sep 1, 2012 11:51 am
            > Subject: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.
            > The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ NYT article about the report is here: http://goo.gl/PWhXc My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here: http://goo.gl/inmEa
            > Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders. Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:
            > From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.
            > Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful â€" without providing any data or views from the ground. Here’s an excerpt:
            > The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ â€" who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]
            > Recommendations for more funding include the following:
            > · Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.
            > · Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.
            > So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years. Class sizes will likely be further increased as the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.
            > For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC
            > The NYT article is below. It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.” http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8
            > If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...
            > Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
            > By AL BAKER
            > Published: August 31, 2012
            > A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.
            > The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.
            > Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.
            > One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.
            > The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.
            > But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.
            > Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”
            > The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.
            > The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.
            > “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”
            > The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.
            > Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.
            > The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.
            > “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.
            > Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”
            > “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”
            > Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.
            > As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.
            > “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”
            > A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.
            >
            > Leonie Haimson
            > Executive Director
            > Class Size Matters
            > 124 Waverly Pl.
            > New York, NY 10011
            > 212-674-7320
            > leonie@...
            > www.classsizematters.org
            > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
            > http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson
            >
            > Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
            >
            > Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
            >
            > Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >



          • Ellen
            The standard for creating truly inclusive classrooms would be to reflect the naturally occurring ratios in the surrounding society. In the NYC schools the
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 3, 2012
              The standard for creating truly inclusive classrooms would be to reflect the naturally occurring ratios in the surrounding society. In the NYC schools the ratio of special needs students to general ed. students is 13.5% students with special education needs. That should be reflected in the classroom: no more than 13.5% of the students with special needs. The state has allowed/forced (depends on your outlook) the city to create classrooms of up to 40% students with special education needs and 60% without. That ratio is way too high and is not reflective of the general population.
              No amount of hoo-ha can cover that up.
              Until and when the DOE realizes that the 60%-40% split in classrooms is not a good practice, we will be stuck with half-hearted implementation of a mandate that could have been a boon to both types of students.
              Hopefully, principals will begin to create integrated classes across each grade level of the school. Hopefully, as the naturally occurring ratios begin to be reflected in all schools, there will no longer be classrooms with 60%-40% splits. Until that time, the schools will need a great deal of support: resource and methods teachers, well trained intervention specialists, knowledgeable supervisors, etc.
              These naturally occurring rations were used when the Childrens School and the Brooklyn New School were developed in the late 80's and early 90s. For a few years, the schools did flourish and attempts were made to replicate their success. However, SED began forcing the schools to increase their numbers of students with special needs and the "magical" formula disappeared. Those two schools are still considered successful, but the class sizes have increased. They use their resources differently to provide staff with development and support. Resourceful/curious principals would do well to study their methods
              --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, Deborah Meier <deborahmeier@...> wrote:
              >
              > Smaller classes, plus an extra adult, and depending on the numbers one specialist in the building to advise teachers, occasionally observe, etc. can work just fine if one includes maybe as much as 5 special needs kids (1/4th) covering the full range--from not very to very. That's what we did at CPE and at Mission Hill and it worked most of the time. The presence of so many less complex learners gas a settling affect on one and all, as does that 2nd adult--andz colleagues who consult each other often, and teachers who keep the same kids for two years and work closely with families, and much else that needs to be thoughtfully put together by those closest to the action.
              > -----
              > Deborah Meier
              >
              > Note: latest book!! Playing For Keeps (TC Press) by D. Meier, Brenda Engel and Beth Taylor
              >
              > NOTE: new e-mail address. deborahmeier@...
              >
              > For more information see website: http://www.deborahmeier.com
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > On Sep 3, 2012, at 5:20 PM, Leonie Haimson wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > Given the right training provided to classroom teachers, sufficient expertise including enough specialists to push in, AND small classes, inclusion could be a wonderful thing.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > But as usual w/ DOE, b/c of poor planning, mismanagement and a total disinterest in how people on the ground are experiencing their policies, they seem likely to completely botch it all â€" at tremendous cost to the kids involved.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Leonie Haimson
              > >
              > > Executive Director
              > >
              > > Class Size Matters
              > >
              > > 124 Waverly Pl.
              > >
              > > New York, NY 10011
              > >
              > > 212-674-7320
              > >
              > > leonie@...
              > >
              > > www.classsizematters.org
              > >
              > > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
              > >
              > > http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > >
              > > Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Marge
              > > Sent: Monday, September 03, 2012 4:58 PM
              > > To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
              > > Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > My son attends a primary school in D24 with a large population of special ed children (many from out of the school's zone) and I have seen how the staff works to help these children in so many ways, including raising money for them to attend a Special Olympics on LI, including the self-contained children in mainstream music and gym classes (one autistic boy was even sent to my son's class from his self-contained class for his math lesson since he was at grade-level for math), etc. I do believe that children with special needs shouldn't be sent miles away to attend school, but does that mean that EVERY school should provide for almost every Special Needs child, or is it more advantageous to the children to go to a few schools in each district where their particular needs can be met by the best-experienced teachers and staff? If there are only a few children in each school with certain needs, aren't teachers going to waste time travelling between schools to provide specialized services? (I had a friend who was a speech supervisor when the city was divided into Regions and she was travelling all over western Queens and into Brooklyn to check on the people who reported to her and the schools they were working in. So much time wasted just driving from school to school.)
              > >
              > > --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, LRN1212@ wrote:
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > I was furious when I read the NY Times article. How clueless can this reporter AND the "Public Advocate" be? For the past 3 years, I have taught in an ICT class as the regular ed teacher. I have NEVER received any of this so-called training for the upcoming "special education reform". From conversations with teachers in many schools, most have NO idea what these "reforms" even mean, but less the "training" to work with IEP students with less or no services.
              > > > I am re-posting an email I sent to this list a few days ago (I am not sure if it was posted, as I did not receive it in my email). Lisa N.
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Re: Job posting:Director for Response to Intervention (RTI)
              > > > Like these students (with learning disabilities) will have any chance of getting RTI in our growing class sizes of 32 students and budget cuts that have done away with intervention teachers...their only hope IS special education services. Oh, I forgot, with special education "reform", those services are being cut to the bone. My principal said that they have not received the special ed funding in their budget because the DOE is waiting to find out exactly how many students with IEP's actually show up in each school. This means that principals can't figure out where to place special ed teachers in the school....leading to many special ed teachers not knowing what they will teach this coming school year and classroom teachers with IEP students don't how many periods they will have support. I heard principals were recently told that there was some kind of school based team that is supposed to look into how to provide services if the school does not have the special ed teachers needed. If it cannot be resolved (how can it, if you don't have enough spec ed teachers?), then there is some process to follow that involves filling out stacks of paper...... The only way many schools will be able to "comply" with services for their IEP students, will be to quickly hold IEP meetings to reduce the number of periods students will get services.
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > -----Original Message-----
              > > > From: Leonie Haimson <leonie@>
              > > > To: nyceducationnews <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
              > > > Cc: leonie <leonie@>
              > > > Sent: Sat, Sep 1, 2012 11:51 am
              > > > Subject: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.
              > > > The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ NYT article about the report is here: http://goo.gl/PWhXc My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here: http://goo.gl/inmEa
              > > > Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders. Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:
              > > > From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.
              > > > Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful â€" without providing any data or views from the ground. Here’s an excerpt:
              > > > The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ â€" who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]
              > > > Recommendations for more funding include the following:
              > > > · Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.
              > > > · Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.
              > > > So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years. Class sizes will likely be further increased as the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.
              > > > For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC
              > > > The NYT article is below. It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still â€Å"studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found â€Å"no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.” http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8
              > > > If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@
              > > > Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study
              > > > By AL BAKER
              > > > Published: August 31, 2012
              > > > A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.
              > > > The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.
              > > > Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented â€Å"longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.
              > > > One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.
              > > > The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.
              > > > But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.
              > > > Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, â€Å"without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”
              > > > The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.
              > > > The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.
              > > > â€Å"The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. â€Å"This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”
              > > > The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.
              > > > Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.
              > > > The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.
              > > > â€Å"The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.
              > > > Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving â€Å"significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”
              > > > â€Å"Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. â€Å"And that is in nobody’s interest.”
              > > > Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.
              > > > As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.
              > > > â€Å"There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. â€Å"The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”
              > > > A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.
              > > >
              > > > Leonie Haimson
              > > > Executive Director
              > > > Class Size Matters
              > > > 124 Waverly Pl.
              > > > New York, NY 10011
              > > > 212-674-7320
              > > > leonie@
              > > > www.classsizematters.org
              > > > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
              > > > http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson
              > > >
              > > > Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
              > > >
              > > > Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
              > > >
              > > > Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > > > Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
            • lwinds@aol.com
              There s a chart for everything in this report except for the most important data that we have been asking for.... how did the children do in this new
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
                There's a chart for everything in this report except for the most important data that we have been asking for.... how did the children do in this new reform???
                Oh sorry I forgot---what does that matter.
                 
                Laurie
                 
                In a message dated 9/1/2012 11:51:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
                 

                There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.

                The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ  NYT article about the report is here:  http://goo.gl/PWhXc  My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here:  http://goo.gl/inmEa

                Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders.  Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:

                From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.

                Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful – without providing any data or views from the ground.   Here’s an excerpt:

                The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ – who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]

                Recommendations for more funding include the following:

                ·         Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.

                ·         Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.

                So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years.  Class sizes will likely be further increased as  the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.

                For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC

                The NYT article is below.  It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found  “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8

                If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...

                Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

                By AL BAKER
                Published: August 31, 2012

                A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.

                The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.

                Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.

                One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.

                The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.

                But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.

                Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”

                The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.

                The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.

                “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”

                The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.

                Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.

                The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.

                “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.

                Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”

                “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”

                Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.

                As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.

                “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”

                A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.

                Leonie Haimson

                Executive Director

                Class Size Matters

                124 Waverly Pl.

                New York, NY 10011

                212-674-7320

                leonie@...

                www.classsizematters.org

                http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

                Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

              • Leonie Haimson
                First of all, the DoE finally released a PowerPoint showing no significant gains for the students; a fact somehow left out of the report and the NYT article.
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
                  First of all, the DoE finally released a PowerPoint showing no significant gains for the students; a fact somehow left out of the report and the NYT article. 

                  The PA office said they will examine more of these issues, including actually talk to some real life principals teachers and parents in subsequent reports. But what a missed opportunity! Yet another view from the top....

                  Leonie Haimson
                  Class Size Matters
                  Sent from IPad so please excuse typos

                  On Sep 8, 2012, at 9:05 AM, lwinds@... wrote:

                   

                  There's a chart for everything in this report except for the most important data that we have been asking for.... how did the children do in this new reform???
                  Oh sorry I forgot---what does that matter.
                   
                  Laurie
                   
                  In a message dated 9/1/2012 11:51:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
                   

                  There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.

                  The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ  NYT article about the report is here:  http://goo.gl/PWhXc  My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here:  http://goo.gl/inmEa

                  Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders.  Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:

                  From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.

                  Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful – without providing any data or views from the ground.   Here’s an excerpt:

                  The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ – who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]

                  Recommendations for more funding include the following:

                  ·         Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.

                  ·         Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.

                  So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years.  Class sizes will likely be further increased as  the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.

                  For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC

                  The NYT article is below.  It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found  “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8

                  If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...

                  Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

                  By AL BAKER
                  Published: August 31, 2012

                  A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.

                  The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.

                  Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.

                  One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.

                  The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.

                  But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.

                  Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”

                  The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.

                  The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.

                  “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”

                  The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.

                  Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.

                  The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.

                  “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.

                  Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”

                  “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”

                  Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.

                  As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.

                  “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”

                  A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.

                  Leonie Haimson

                  Executive Director

                  Class Size Matters

                  124 Waverly Pl.

                  New York, NY 10011

                  212-674-7320

                  leonie@...

                  www.classsizematters.org

                  http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

                  Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                  Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                  Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                  Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                • Diane Ravitch
                  Where is that Powerpoint? Diane Ravitch ... Where is that Powerpoint? Diane Ravitch On Sep 8, 2012, at 9:47 AM, Leonie Haimson wrote: First
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
                    Where is that Powerpoint?

                    Diane Ravitch


                    On Sep 8, 2012, at 9:47 AM, Leonie Haimson <leonie@...> wrote:

                     

                    First of all, the DoE finally released a PowerPoint showing no significant gains for the students; a fact somehow left out of the report and the NYT article. 

                    The PA office said they will examine more of these issues, including actually talk to some real life principals teachers and parents in subsequent reports. But what a missed opportunity! Yet another view from the top....

                    Leonie Haimson
                    Class Size Matters
                    Sent from IPad so please excuse typos

                    On Sep 8, 2012, at 9:05 AM, lwinds@... wrote:

                     

                    There's a chart for everything in this report except for the most important data that we have been asking for.... how did the children do in this new reform???
                    Oh sorry I forgot---what does that matter.
                     
                    Laurie
                     
                    In a message dated 9/1/2012 11:51:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
                     

                    There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.

                    The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ  NYT article about the report is here:  http://goo.gl/PWhXc  My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here:  http://goo.gl/inmEa

                    Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders.  Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:

                    From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.

                    Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful – without providing any data or views from the ground.   Here’s an excerpt:

                    The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ – who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]

                    Recommendations for more funding include the following:

                    ·         Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.

                    ·         Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.

                    So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years.  Class sizes will likely be further increased as  the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.

                    For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC

                    The NYT article is below.  It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found  “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8

                    If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...

                    Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

                    By AL BAKER
                    Published: August 31, 2012

                    A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.

                    The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.

                    Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.

                    One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.

                    The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.

                    But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.

                    Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”

                    The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.

                    The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.

                    “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”

                    The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.

                    Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.

                    The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.

                    “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.

                    Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”

                    “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”

                    Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.

                    As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.

                    “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”

                    A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.

                    Leonie Haimson

                    Executive Director

                    Class Size Matters

                    124 Waverly Pl.

                    New York, NY 10011

                    212-674-7320

                    leonie@...

                    www.classsizematters.org

                    http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

                    Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                    Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                    Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                    Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                  • Leonie Haimson
                    Diane and all: Slide 13 of this DOE powerpoint shows that they found “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012

                      Diane and all:

                       

                      Slide 13 of this DOE powerpoint shows that they found “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.” 

                       

                      http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8

                       

                      See also my report from the hearings last spring:

                       

                      “….despite the bland assurances of DOE’s Shael Suransky at the hearings that schools will be provided with any additional funding they need to make inclusion work-- and Laura Rodriguez, head of the special education office, admitting that many of these students need small classes to be successful, the sternly worded directive to principals mandates that they must accommodate children with special needs in  inclusion classes up to contractual maximum of 25 kids in K, and 32 in grades 1-5, with no exceptions and no capping below these levels.”

                       

                       

                      I have posted the DOE memo here: http://goo.gl/s08j7

                       

                      Here is the excerpt:

                       

                      Capping

                       

                      The need to cap a grade arises when a zoned school is physically unable to accommodate all of its zoned students. In order for a cap request to be approved, all of the following conditions must be met.

                       

                      • All GE/ICT in a given grade have reached the contractual maximum

                       

                      (K = 25; Grades 1-5 = 32; Grades 6-8 Title I = 30/ Non-Title I = 33); and

                       

                      • There is no mechanism to collapse sections, more efficiently program, or repurpose rooms; and

                       

                      • There is no other space to open an additional section

                       

                      And this mandate is expressed in especially punitive terms:


                      For recommendations that are not in the best interest of students, regular progressive disciplinary measures for school leaders and IEP teams will apply.

                       

                       

                      The best interest of students to put them in classes of 25, 30 or more?  Who is to determine this?

                       

                      Meanwhile, not surprisingly,  the complaints have been flooding in that children who need small classes according to their IEPs are being forced into class sizes of 25 in Kindergarten:  see this press release from Advocates for Children

                       

                      http://goo.gl/qJur2

                       

                       

                      For example, Amir Oree does not know where he will attend kindergarten next week. At his

                      kindergarten planning meeting in April, a team of DOE professionals and Amir’s mother agreed that

                      Amir requires a small, 12-student class due to his special needs. However, Amir’s zoned school will not

                      have a 12-student class and will need to place him in a large class with 25 students.

                       

                      The DOE asked Amir’s mother to participate in a second kindergarten planning meeting in August, where another team of DOE professionals affirmed that Amir requires a 12-student class. The DOE has refused to give him

                      a new school, explaining that children must attend their zoned school under the special education

                      reform. Amir’s mother has sued to enforce Amir’s right under federal and state law to a school that has

                      a 12-student class.

                       

                      “I support the goals of the special education reform. But for my child to succeed in a large class later on,

                      he needs a small class now,” said Amir’s mother, Khadira Savage. “All I want is for Amir to start

                      kindergarten on time in the small class that the DOE itself said he needs.”

                       

                      “It’s relatively easy to place more students with disabilities in large classes in their zoned schools, but

                      that is not the measure of success,” said Kim Sweet, AFC Executive Director. “Students with disabilities

                      must receive the support they need to achieve. That’s the hard part. If their schools aren’t ready, students

                      should not have to pay.”

                       

                      And this from Yoav at the NYPost:

                       

                      With less than a week to go before school starts, East Harlem mom Khadira Savage said she’s still battling with school officials because her 4-year-old son was assigned to a classroom at PS 30 with 25 students, even though his education plan mandates a smaller setting with no more than 12 special-ed kids.

                      “It’s scary for me as a parent to think he may not have a placement next week and that the placement that they do offer him may not be the best for him, because it’s going to be what’s best for the Department of Education,” said Savage, who has filed for an independent hearing on behalf of her son, Amir Oree.

                      “I was confused as to why they would place me in a school that didn’t have the class he needed.”


                      Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/special_ed_parents_demand_class_0SLK7TJij9lJx2Kb3yFUyN#ixzz25tL8SyY8

                      How many parents have gone along without protesting?  And how many special needs kids are now sitting in Kindergartens that have the largest class sizes in 13 years?

                       

                      And yet when I searched for a single mention of the issue of class size in the Public Advocate’s report, and did not find it.  Instead the recommendations focused on more funding and PD for the network staff.

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      :

                       

                      Leonie Haimson

                      Executive Director

                      Class Size Matters

                      124 Waverly Pl.

                      New York, NY 10011

                      212-674-7320

                      leonie@...

                      www.classsizematters.org

                      http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

                       

                      Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                       

                      Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                       

                      Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                      Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                       

                      From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Diane Ravitch
                      Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2012 10:31 AM
                      To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

                       

                       

                      Where is that Powerpoint?

                      Diane Ravitch

                       


                      On Sep 8, 2012, at 9:47 AM, Leonie Haimson <leonie@...> wrote:

                       

                      First of all, the DoE finally released a PowerPoint showing no significant gains for the students; a fact somehow left out of the report and the NYT article. 

                       

                      The PA office said they will examine more of these issues, including actually talk to some real life principals teachers and parents in subsequent reports. But what a missed opportunity! Yet another view from the top....

                      Leonie Haimson

                      Class Size Matters

                      Sent from IPad so please excuse typos


                      On Sep 8, 2012, at 9:05 AM, lwinds@... wrote:

                       

                      There's a chart for everything in this report except for the most important data that we have been asking for.... how did the children do in this new reform???

                      Oh sorry I forgot---what does that matter.

                       

                      Laurie

                       

                      In a message dated 9/1/2012 11:51:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:

                       

                      There’s a new study put out by Public Advocate De Blasio’s office that praises DOE’s Mainstreaming Efforts, based on results of Phase I of their initiative.

                      The report is here: http://goo.gl/KZ3qJ  NYT article about the report is here:  http://goo.gl/PWhXc  My earlier blog post, including comments from teachers and parents about this initiative, is here:  http://goo.gl/inmEa

                      Interestingly, the author only inter viewed top brass at Tweed and cluster and network leaders.  Not a single principal, teacher or parent, or student in any of the Phase I schools were apparently interviewed:

                      From September 2011 through January 2012, P&A conducted more than 40 structured confidential interviews of deputy chancellors, DOE central office staff, cluster and network leaders in Phase One, and others external to the DOE who have knowledge of Special Education Reform. …All network leaders indicated that the networks had responsibility for providing professional development, and they were building their capacity to do so effectively. Further, many network leaders said that responsibility for professional development was shared with principals who knew the needs of their schools.

                      Not surprisingly, the admins leading the effort agreed th at the initiative was successful – without providing any data or views from the ground.   Here’s an excerpt:

                      The network identified support for leadership as a network-wide need, and convened principals every month in sessions led by both the network leader and the deputy network leader. At the same time, network instructional coaches (and the network leader) met regularly with general- and special education ‘teacher leaders’ – who are outstanding classroom professionals identified by school principals …The results were stunning, according to the network’s leader. Students dug in deep and examined what inclusion meant….[etc etc]

                      Recommendations for more funding include the following:

                      ·         Recommendation 3: Provide additional funding for more on-site professional development by clusters and networks.

                      ·         Hire additional staff into central office and network positions who have the knowledge and skills necessary to help schools implement Special Education Reform.

                      So give the admins more funding to build up their staff, but there is little or no mention of the need to hire any more teachers or services providers who actually work with these kids…despite the fact that class sizes are now the largest in 13 years.  Class sizes will likely be further increased as  the DOE has mandated that inclusion classes be filled with students with disabilities to the contractual maximums of 25 in K, 32 in grades 1-5 and 30 -33 in middle school, despite the fact that most professionals and parents understand that all kids, but especially those with disabilities, need far smaller classes to be successful.

                      For more on this see my testimony here: http://goo.gl/F2dSC

                      The NYT article is below.  It also says that more than one year later, DOE is still “studying ” the results in terms of academic gains of this initiative, but in this DOE powerpoint on slide 13, you can see they found  “no statistically significant differences on Math & ELA proficiency between Phase 1 and Comparison Schools.http://tinyurl.com/dykb8s8

                      If you are a parent or teacher who has a view on this initiative, and how it is being carried out, you might contact the NYT reporter (who is relatively new) at albaker@...

                      Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study

                      By AL BAKER
                      Published: August 31, 2012

                      A study released on Friday said that the New York City Department of Education had done a good job of preparing for significant special education reforms that will begin in earnest next week, but it expressed concerns about whether schools had enough money and teachers had enough training to carry out the changes.

                      The reforms are intended to reverse a longstanding practice of segregating special education students in their own classrooms and schools. Beginning this year, all special education students, except those with the most severe needs, may enroll in neighborhood zoned schools. Those schools are being encouraged to move more special education s tudents into regular classroom settings, a process known as mainstreaming.

                      Though federal legislation requires special education students to attend schools in their own neighborhoods when possible, 59 percent of the city’s elementary and middle-school students did not do so last year, with many of them facing long bus trips to and from school. In 2005, an Education Department report documented “longstanding, significant problems,” in the city’s ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities under federal and state law.

                      One major goal is to increase the graduation rates of those students. The rate reached 31 percent last year, up from 18.3 percent five years ago, but was less than half the 66 percent rate for all students last year. In all, 160,000 of the city’s 1.1 million students receive some kind of special education services. They include not only students who are in dedicated classrooms or schools, but also those in regular classrooms who receive occasional services, like speech therapy, once a week or more.

                      The report, prepared by the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit group affiliated with the public advocate’s office, found that the Education Department did well in preparing for the changes, including expanding its training for school personnel, developing a phone hot line for parents to call and setting up nine offices across the city devoted to providing information on special education.

                      But it questioned alterations in the way the department provided funds for special education, in particular its decision, in recent years, to compensate schools based on the number of special education s tudents they had, rather than on the number of classes. Since some schools have special education classrooms with very few students, that could lead to financial shortages, because those schools would still have to hire the same number of special education teachers and aides as if they had fuller classrooms.

                      Citing a school official’s view of the costs associated with the changes, the report said that, “without increased funding it is difficult to debunk the myth that special education reform is ‘really all about saving money.’ ”

                      The study examined the first year of a two-year trial program, which began in 2010, in which 260 of the city’s 1,700 schools began making the changes. Education Department officials said on Friday that in the first year, those schools had an 11.3 percent increase in the number of special education students who were moved to less-restrictive class settings.

                      The officia ls said they were still analyzing data from the trial program’s second year, but acknowledged that change would take time.

                      “The overall picture is there have been very small shifts,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Education Department’s chief academic officer. He said the department was moving slowly and carefully, examining each child’s needs individually. “This is not meant to be a very fast shift.”

                      The reforms were supposed to be adopted citywide last year, but in January 2011, Cathleen P. Black, then the schools chancellor, delayed its beginning to give schools more time to prepare.

                      Joseph J. Nobile, the principal at Public School 304 in the Bronx, one of the trial schools, said that a quarter of all special education students in his school had been moved into less restrictive settings over the last two years. He said they had achieved academic gains.

                      The changes are neede d to help special education students reach their potential, he said. But many staff members came away feeling discouraged because, while more was being asked of them, they received no more time or money to accomplish their goals, he said.

                      “The philosophy was there, but the funding was not,” Mr. Nobile said.

                      Steven Banks, the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said his organization has been receiving “significant numbers of calls from very concerned parents who are just now learning about their children’s placements and have valid concerns that there are not sufficient supports in their locally zoned schools.”

                      “Mainstreaming is important, but without proper planning, very vulnerable children can be set up to fail,” Mr. Banks said. “And that is in nobody’s interest.”

                      Officials in the Education Department pointed out that the report did not analyze the trial program’s second year and did not reflect all the measures taken in the last year to support teachers, principals and others. In a letter accompanying the report, the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, cited increases in professional development, and money to achieve them.

                      As for money, Mr. Polakow-Suransky said, the report did not reflect how financial formulas were adjusted last year to funnel more resources into the kinds of programs that the special education effort demands.

                      “There were people that said they were worried there was a need for additional funding at a time of budget cuts,” said Mr. Polakow-Suransky. “The concern they raised, we heard it too, and we fixed it.”

                      A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Mainstreaming Efforts Praised in Schools Study.

                      Leonie Haimson

                      Executive Director

                      Class Size Matters

                      124 Waverly Pl.

                      New York, NY 10011

                      212-674-7320

                      leonie@...

                      www.classsizematters.org

                      http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

                      Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                      Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                      Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                      Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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