Betsy Gotbaum, the city’s public advocate, released a report this morning, “Left in the Dark.” It reported results from the survey [pdf], which was conducted from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30 and involved 2,026 parents of students with moderate to severe disabilities in District 75, the citywide full-time special education district.
Ms. Gotbaum’s report [pdf] found that:
- 31 percent of parents said they had not received information on community resources available to help their children;
- 30 percent of parents indicated that their child’s school did not have after-school programs; and
- 19 percent of parents said the City Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation or their child’s bus company had not been responsive to their concerns.
“Parents of children with special needs have enough on their plate,” Ms. Gotbaum said in a statement. “They shouldn’t have to deal with a bureaucratic system that packs their kids into classrooms and refuses to give them information about transportation and resources.”
The council has 11 voting members: nine parents and two representatives of the public advocate.
John Englert, the president of the Citywide Council on Special Education, said: “This is a survey developed by parents with children with special needs for parents with children with special needs. We’re excited that we can make the parents’ voices heard, and we urge D.O.E. to do the same.”
The Department of Education replied that most parents in the survey were satisfied with their children’s schools. The Bloomberg administration has often taken swipes at Ms. Gotbaum, and the Department of Education’s response today was no exception:
We appreciate the C.C.S.E.’s ongoing work to serve students with disabilities. The overwhelming number of parents who responded to C.C.S.E.’s parent survey said they were satisfied with the quality of instruction and the opportunities for involvement in their children’s schools. It’s a pity that the results of the survey are being distorted and trivialized to score political points. Our collaboration with C.C.S.E. in the past has been very productive and we will work together to address the concerns raised in the survey.