Families See Little Progress In DCPS Special Education Issues | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

Families See Little Progress In DCPS Special Education Issues

Play associated audio

By Kavitha Cardoza

D.C.'s public schools have been making progress towards resolving legal issues surrounding special education. But families of children with disabilities say there is still much more to be finished.

The head of special education for DCPS, Dr. Richard Nyankori, rattles off the court cases he inherited, including one lawsuit resolved last year where students in city jails now receive special education services. In another case, the State Department of Education will now oversee transportation for children with disabilities.

Nyankori says what's especially important is how far they've come in resolving the Blackman Jones case. That's where hearing officers were taking too long to make a decision involving special education related complaints, and schools were taking too long to implement those decisions.

Nyankori says that's changed.

"When we started off there were over 1000 cases in the backlog and a timeliness rate of 21 percent. Today we have maybe one or two cases in the backlog and a timeliness of implementation is 90 percent," Nyankori says.

Lewis Bossing with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law represents the plaintiffs in the Blackman Jones case. He questions how accurate that data is. While he agrees there has been progress made, he says it's in a very narrow sense.

"Whether or not that means DCPS has the capacity to serve students with disabilities effectively in integrated settings. I really don't know if that's happening systemically," he says.

DCPS has been working on a long term strategy to reduce the number of special education students who attend private schools and meet their needs in public schools.

NPR

'This Fight Begins In The Heart': Reading James Baldwin As Ferguson Seethes

Protests in Ferguson, Mo., continue in response to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by police on Aug. 9. The incident reminds author Laila Lalami of James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son.
NPR

Specialty Food And Agriculture Startups Are Ripening In Greece

Sotiris Lymperopoulos left a good job in Athens to collect wild sea greens for upscale restaurants. Food startups like his may be able to generate thousands of new jobs in post-crisis Greece.
NPR

With Ferguson, Obama Forced To Confront Race Yet Again

President Obama's carefully avoided taking sides following the shooting of Missouri teen Michael Brown, disappointing some African-American observers.
NPR

Ex-Microsoft CEO Ballmer Steps Down From Company's Board

Steve Ballmer, 58, on Tuesday resigned from the software giant's board because of other time consuming commitments including his new ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.