The District’s top special education official testified in federal court yesterday that some school personnel ignore scheduled meetings with parents, contributing to the city’s failure to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities or behavioral challenges.
Richard Nyankori, acting deputy chancellor for special education, said the backlog of D.C. children awaiting special education services is lengthy in part because school staff don’t show up for meetings, leaving cases unresolved and parents in the lurch.
“Sometimes it is willful on the part of some staff not to make it to meetings,” Nyankori said under questioning from U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman.
Friedman called the hearing to quiz officials about the District’s lack of progress in complying with a 2006 consent decree that settled a class action brought by parents of children with learning problems. The District’s public and public charter schools have nearly 11,000 special education students. About 20 percent attend private schools, at a cost to taxpayers of about $200 million, because D.C. cannot meet their needs.