SPECIAL EDUCATION LEGAL ALERT
Perry A. Zirkel – © July 2020
Regional Task Force Meeting
On June 24th, LIASEA participated in the fourth Regional Task Force meeting with NYSED regarding the re-opening of schools. LIASEA was represented by Dr. Alice Kane, President, and Tricia Desiderio, Vice President as participants in the Special Education sub-group. Listed below are the SED Guiding Principles along with the nine focus subgroups.
1. The health, safety, and well-being of the children and adults is paramount.
2. Educational equity will be at the forefront of decision-making.
3. One size does not fit all. New York is a large state, in population and size. There is tremendous diversity among New York’s people, geographic regions, and schools and school districts.
4. While it is important to provide districts with guidelines and policies, it is important as well to give them appropriate leeway to develop creative solutions to their unique challenges.
5. Districts will be enabled and encouraged to work directly with parents, teachers, administrators, and their local communities to develop and deliver workable solutions to their unique needs and succeed through a collective effort.
6. Planning for schools to reopen is not a one-time event. The Board and Department will continuously monitor the situation and provide updated guidance, policies, and regulatory changes as the situation requires.
The Regents and SED will consider the following areas of focus as they develop the guidance and regulatory changes that will enable New York’s school districts to safely open their schools:
Teaching and Learning
Digital Equity and Access
Budget and Fiscal
Social Emotional Needs
During the sub-group focus, participants were asked to answer the following three questions:
- What do you think are the greatest challenges that schools and school districts will face under each of the three instructional models: in person, remote, or a combination of the two?
- Can you provide us with concrete examples of creative solutions to challenging problems that could work in your school or district under each of the three schooling scenarios?
- Can you tell us how the Regents and Department can help eliminate any of the institutional, budgetary, and regulatory obstacles that stand in the way of your success?
The majority of the time in the Special Education focus group was spent on Question One regarding the challenges of re-opening the schools. During this time, we were able to bring up the numerous concerns provided by our membership who returned the survey.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns as we were able to bring them to the attention of SED. The other questions were also addressed. As districts are still working on their re-opening plans, without guidance from SED, there were few creative solutions. It seems those are still in the planning stages for many.
For question 3, we have asked for flexibility from the state when it comes to regulations, instructional hours, compliance, assessments, and accountability as we move forward with the re-opening of Schools.
Following the focus groups, there was a wrap-up from each area. As this was the fourth and final Task Force meeting, SED will now go into Phase 2. They will review all four meetings and gather the information and make determinations for guidance and regulations.
The Board of Regents will be meeting July 13th to review the recommended SED guidance and regulations.
Please continue to check our legislative updates section on the website. We will keep you posted as we get more information.