Schools Beat Back Demands for Special Ed Services

Daniel Golden:

Paul McGlone, an iron worker, and his wife, Tricia, became worried in 2006 that their autistic son knew fewer letters in kindergarten than he had in preschool.
When the East Islip school district refused their request for at-home tutoring by an autism specialist, they exercised their right under federal special-education law to an administrative hearing. There, a hearing officer ordered East Islip to pay for seven hours a week of home therapy. The McGlones hired a tutor, and their son “started to click again,” his mother says.
Then the district appealed the decision to Paul F. Kelly, the New York state review officer for special-education cases. He denied any reimbursement for home services. “The child’s progress was consistent with his abilities,” Mr. Kelly found in February. The family canceled the tutoring.
The McGlone case is part of a pattern that has many parents and advocates for the disabled in an uproar. They say administrative reviews in many parts of the U.S. overwhelmingly back school districts in disputes over paying for special-education services. State education departments, which have an interest in keeping down special-education costs, typically train or hire the hearing officers. Also, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and changes to federal law have made it harder for parents to win cases.

One thought on “Schools Beat Back Demands for Special Ed Services”

  1. Dan Golden did a great job breaking this story, and there is more investigation and reporting to do. Kelly’s office has a leak at the waterline, and the attorneys in that office are blowing him in for what is occurring up there, as it is injuring children. Those concerned need to contact their representatives and others demanding a full-scale investigation into this scandal. The “leadership” at the State Education Department has orchestrated these shenanigans, and they have to go and be replaced by people of integrity. Too many children’s futures depend on it!

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