Special Education in New York City
In New York City, students with disabilities who require special education services have Individualized Education Programs (IEP). The IEP, which is created by a team of educators and the parent(s), contains information about a student’s strengths, needs and educational program. The majority of students with IEPs receive their educational program in the same schools that they would attend if they did not have a disability.
In 2012, the New York City Department of Education launched a special education reform to make this possible. School staff were trained to create high quality IEPs, educate students with different needs, and create inclusive schools. Enrollment policy shifted to ensure students with IEPs had access to the same schools, instruction, and high expectations as their non-disabled peers. Now students with IEPs participate in the same admissions processes as their non-disabled peers and all schools serve students with disabilities. As a result, students with IEPs are outperforming their peers across the state on standardized tests and graduation rates have soared. We know that more time with non-disabled peers results in
higher scores on math and reading tests;
fewer absences from school;
fewer referrals for disruptive behavior; and
better outcomes after high school.
Students with disabilities who require a specialized program also have more options than they did in the past. The New York City Department of Education continues to improve the quality and grow the number of specialized programs in district schools and in District 75 to ensure that all students have the appropriate level of support.
There is still work to be done. The New York City Department of Education is committed to partnering with you, our parents and families, to create inclusive schools where all students are welcomed, supported and prepared for a future as a productive adult. Use this site, the Family Guide to Special Education, conferences, and parent leadership opportunities to be our partner.
To find out more about the Department’s vision and plan to improve student achievement, read the Framework for Great Schools.