N.Y. City Panel Approves Special Education Inclusion Plan

Friday, May 25, 2012

A plan to restructure the city’s special education program by funneling thousands of learning disabled children into mainstream classrooms — an increasingly popular practice around the country — was given the go-ahead Wednesday night when the Panel for Education Policy voted to change the city’s financing formula to pay for it.

At its monthly meeting, the panel voted to align the fair student funding formula — the weighted formula that the Department of Education uses to allocate funds for the city’s neediest, including special education students — with its special education initiative. The new formula will allocate money to students, not to special education classes, in line with a five-year-old policy that calls for education dollars to follow students.

Laura Rodriguez, the deputy chancellor for special education, who has helped spearhead the three-year-old plan in hopes of better serving the city’s growing special education population, characterized the move as “urgent” and called it “a change of a mindset.”

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