The Fraud of Special Education in New York City and America
There is ample evidence that education officials are profitting from the billions of dollars that are supposed to be going toward special education services, while the children in need get nothing.
Email from Illinois:
I don't know what your SA is like, but ours in this small rural town in IL would not file charges against
the principal at the school, when she tried to hit my husband and kids with her vehicle. This, we feel, was
in direct retaliation to our demanding special ed retesting for our son, and our complete involvement in
making the school close its doors when our son nearly died and several other were seriously ill (including
staff and faculty)due to the rash outbreak last year from mold-stachyboctrus. The principal has lost his
inhaler 3x and refused to call us two of those times. And now won't pay for the last one she lost. The SA,
we were told, has the discretion to whom he files the charges against. Instead, the principal said that my
husband tried to get into her vehicle (criminal trespassing to a vehicle and disorderly conduct), therefore, a warrant was issued and he was processed.
NO charges were filed against this woman. Because of numerous witnesses, the charges were dropped against my husband-who by the way-had no criminal history. She has since lost another student's meds. Still our SA has not filed any charges on her. She has allowed another CWD to be bullied and beat up. No charges filed. The Attorney general's office will not get involved. Even after she refused to feed 32 children a few weeks ago, because each owed a lunch balance-some as little as 50 cents.
The kitchen aids TOLD her that they wouldn't tell those kids that they could not eat. So, she said to
give them a peanut butter sandwich-and that's it! Then she went to the local diner and sat and had a healthy lunch. A parent who had witnessed the list of names of children being read by an employee, of those who could not have lunch, stopped by the diner, and was appalled to see her eating lunch, with not a concern in her heart.
We have filled out the OCR and I will be mailing it tomorrow. However, after hearing many of
your cases, I'm afraid that that is another waste of our time. Much like the school board. We have been
financially destroyed. We pray that hopefully-God willing the state will make us
consolidate! Our son was sent to another school because of the long list of complications, their
neglect to provide him FAPE and other problems with this school. However, other parents continue to
suffer. We met with an attorney recently. But it will take alot of money, unless I can find some cases that
have won in similar situations. (But I must do the leg work...good practice for law school:) Then the
attorney will consider representing us on contingency.
I hope you have better luck than us. It has been a year and a half long nightmare! We still have one
child that attends this school. And it is hard to trust anyone there! It is difficult to put her on the
bus and send her to a building where you're afraid for her safety because of the past incompetence
demonstrated by those in charge. Where did all the educators go that loved children and wanted to TEACH
them? It is so sad to see our small town divided because of our school and a few rotten apples and so
many who claim to be Christians turn their backs on the righteous and helpless ones-the children. Then we
hear how some of these people are laughing about what's been happening to some of these exceptional
children at school, as they sit downing beers in a bar. It's very frustrating and hearbreaking to know
that these same people we have entrusted in these positions to care for our children, are hurting these
children, and we are powerless to remove them from their positions. My prayer is that God will intervene
in each one of these situations where schools, states attorneys, principals, superintendants, and teachers
are and have harmed these exceptional children in our schools today. I am just dying for PACE to come to our area for a meeting to educate us-parents of children with disabilities, so that we can start a support group for parents who have similar situations, before their problems get as serious as some of ours. Please keep our situation in your thoughts, and send an attorney our way who can help
several of us parents who have children whom have been/or still are being denied a free and appropriate
public education. After all, our kids are the future leaders of America! :) God bless them, every one.
May God bless you and your situation.
In New York city, kids with Individualized Education Plans funded by the Federal Government are not getting the services or the resources (assistive technology) that they are supposed to.
Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum says that Chancellor Klein is not complying with the rules and regulations:
Thursday, March 18
Gotbaum to Klein: Stop Stonewalling and Fix Special Ed
87% of Surveyed DOE Employees Confirm Scandal
Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum has released the results of a survey of nearly 300 school psychologists and administrators, substantiating her charge that the Department of Education (DOE) is pressuring school superintendents to keep down referral rates for special education placements.
"Chancellor Klein has been stonewalling," Gotbaum said. "He said he wanted to see our proof that there's a crisis in special education. Well, Chancellor Klein, here's the proof. Almost all of the psychologists and administrators we spoke to say that students who may have special needs aren't getting evaluated and students who have been evaluated aren't getting the services they're entitled to. Now it's time for you to fix the problem."
96.5% said the DOE's reforms have adversely affected the referral/evaluation process
81.4% said their school has a backlog of students awaiting reevaluation.
74.4%said their school has a backlog of students awaiting placement.
43.7% said they have been given a direct order to keep referrals and evaluations down.
24.1% said they knew of colelagues who have been given such an order.
Of the 95 principals and administrators surveyed:
83.2% said the DOE's reforms have adversely affected the referral/evaluation process.
70.5% said their school has a backlog of students awaiting initial referrals.
69.5% said their school has a backlog of students awaiting reevaluation.
55.8% said their school has a backlog of students awaiting placement.
40% said they have been given a direct order to keep referrals and evaluatoins down.
23.2% said they knew of colleagues who have been given such an order.
"The worst part about all of this," Gotbaum continued, "is that psychologists and administrators were told to keep children out of special ed. The sooner Chancellor Klein faces up to reality, the sooner he can get the special ed system working again."
The DOE's abandonment of the 37 district Committees on Special Education (CSE) in favor of 10 consolidated regional CSEs, as well as its delegation of the entire responsibility of special education evaluations to school psychologists without providing sufficient training and resources, has led to a 50 percent drop in special education reevaluations this school year. Initial referrals dropped to 5,370 this year from a five-year high of 8,203 in the 2003 school year.
Administrators and psychologists alike confirm that they have been pressured by their superiors to keep the rolls down. Several administrators surveyed acknowledged that the number of special ed referrals at their school was factored into their performance reviews. One was threatened with a negative performance review for requesting as few as ten initial evaluations. One psychologist surveyed was told by her supervisor to only refer children who "drag the school down" and to provide no intervention services. Several others accuse their CSE of deliberately "losing" referrals and of not returning calls.
In several anonymous letters received by the Public Advocate's Office, administrators and psychologists described the climate of intimidation and fear in which they work. One anonymous regional CSE employee said his CSE Chairperson told supervisors they were not permitted to answer the Public Advocate's survey.
"What's going on in special ed is heinous and it's deliberate," Gotbaum said. "The administrators and psychologists we surveyed are dedicated professionals who care about their students. They have no reason to lie.
In March 2003, the E-Accountability Foundation asked Mrs. Eva Moskowitz, Chair of the NY City Council's Education Committee, to look at the flow of Federal, State and City funds flowing into the NYC DOE for special education services but alledgedly not handed out to the children:
The E-Accountability Foundation
Betsy Combier, President March 27, 2003
To All Members of the New York City Council
The E-Accountability Foundation is a non-profit company whose mission is to investigate and report on waste, misappropriation of public funds, and other activities including violations of confidentiality and the "Sunshine Laws" here in New York City by the "politico-educational complex". Our soon-to-be-launched website ParentAdvocates.org will explain what we mean by this term in more detail, but basically we combined politicians and educrats together. The fact the "politico-" comes before "educational" is not an accident.
We believe that the New York City Department of Education is riddled with misappropriation of funds, and the clearest example is District 75, or Special Education. We have been receiving telephone calls from parents for 10 months about the conditions of the "Resource" room at their children's schools. We put quotes around the word "resource" because we have found that every school we have looked at has almost nothing in terms of materials or services to comply with the federally mandated laws and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) given the children sent there by the respective Committees on Special Education/Impartial Hearing Officers.
In addition, countless children are being pushed into "Full Inclusion" classes, and left without any services whatsoever. We have some of the names of the children and the schools, and while a majority are of African-American or Hispanic backgrounds, white middle-class children are being dumped as well. School Report cards are alarmingly incorrect. One school lists $90,931 allocated to each special education student per year. Why not send these children to private school, at $25000-$37000 per year, and save thousands of dollars? We have been working with a parent at this school whose son receives tutoring "some of the time" twice a week for ½ hour. The District admitted to the Impartial Hearing Officer that the young boy involved never received his mandated services for 1 year. Where is the money?
E-Accountability wrote a Freedom of Information request to obtain the Transparent Budget of the Department of Education District 75. Ms. Susan Holtzman at the Office of Legal Services sent us no information and told us that it had been sent. District 75 told us that we had no right to ask for the information, that whatever we could know was on the Web, and whatever was not on the Web was confidential. We asked a former District 2 School Board member and lawyer to call District 75, to ask the same questions, because he did not believe that the Department of Education could be so unwilling to give information clearly relevant to public scrutiny. He was stunned when he was told the same thing.
We believe that until there is transparency and accountability in budgetary matters there can be no true reform. We also believe that no amount of money can "fix" the broken and secret Department of Education. We support the good-faith efforts of Caroline Kennedy and others who are trying to bring badly needed money to New York City Schools, but we are all unnecessarily wasting our time unless we know exactly where every dollar raised is going. We don't, and the DOE will not reveal anything either.
The recent months have shown that the current Administration at Tweed is very willing to have secret meetings. The City Council must put a stop to this immediately. E-Accountability is dedicated to increasing the public awareness of the rights of parents and taxpayers to see and participate in the allocation of tax money and government services, and we will hold all members of the DOE as well as the New York City Council accountable for any actions which contradict our right to an open government.
We have attached what we believe is an interesting analysis of District spending done by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. While we are not suggesting any one route toward our goals, we suggest that many be examined so that we may begin the process of true reform. We need transparency and accountability first.
Mrs. Moskowitz and every member of the NY City Council, all of whom received this letter sent individually to the official offices, never answered. We suggest that all voters look at this when the voting booth is open.
The question is, why are Chancellor Klein and the DOE sticking their heads in the sand? My message to the Chancellor is simple: This problem won't go away until you take responsibility and fix it.