NYC schools Chancellor David Banks lays out $205 million plan to improve special education

NYC schools Chancellor David Banks lays out $205 million plan to improve special education

New York City schools Chancellor David Banks laid out his first comprehensive plan Thursday for improving special education in the nation’s largest school system, pledging a $205 million investment to expand several popular programs for students with disabilities and creating an advisory council to drive future reforms.

Nearly 200,000 students with disabilities receive legally mandated special education services in city schools – and their academic outcomes continue to lag, with just 58% of students with disabilities graduating within four years in the most recent cohort, compared to 88% of students without disabilities, according to state data.

Families of students with disabilities have for years described an opaque and complex system that makes it difficult to obtain appropriate support for their kids – driving many to seek placements at specialized private schools that can better meet their students’ needs. The education department spent more than $1 billion last year covering private school costs for roughly 10,000 students, officials said at a recent City Council hearing.

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