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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Special Ed in DC

Here is a follow-up to a May 30 post about a special-ed controversy in Washington, DC. The Washington Post reports:

The administration of D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, seeking to whittle the annual $280 million cost of sending special education students to private schools, said Thursday that it will study several options to return as many as possible to the city's public schools.

The options, which officials said they will present to parents in meetings over the next few weeks, include forming public-private partnerships to build new facilities, co-locating "schools within schools" in joint ventures with private operators, expanding special education services in neighborhood schools by establishing separate classes for students who need full-time services, modernizing the city's special education schools and retraining staff, and offering scholarship-type grants so parents can buy special education services on the open market.

Fenty announced the initiative 90 minutes after his rival in the Democratic mayoral primary, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, unveiled his schools platform. Fenty's plan was designed in part to address recent criticism from special education parents who have expressed alarm at District attempts to "reintegrate" private school students without what they describe as adequate advance notice or careful consideration of their needs.