Thursday, June 23, 2005

Where's the accountability for special education?

Another report, this time from a federal audit, slams the special education system in New York. The audit's findings, reported on in this article in the New York Times, describe the record-keeping system that used Medicaid funds to give poor special ed kids speech therapy as "chaotic" and charge that city schools misspent $870 million "by channeling tens of thousands of poor special-education students into speech therapy performed by unqualified practitioners, often without proper referrals."

City and state officials are saying that the audit is being unfair and that federal regulations are confusing, but this latest report underscores a major problem of the New York City special education system - the lack of accountability. The audit even mentions that many parents still complained about receiving services despite all the improper spending. It is unacceptable that poor special education students are getting speech services from unqualified therapists, and it is unacceptable that only 12 percent all special ed students are graduating from high school.

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