INCLUDEnyc Voices

New York City Council Committee on Education Oversight Hearing on Diversity

INCLUDEnyc submitted testimony on December 7, 2017 at a New York City Council's Committee on Education oversight hearing on diversity.


We would like to thank the New York City Council’s Committee on Education for holding this important hearing on the oversight of diversity in New York City schools.

We testify today to highlight the need for New York City Department of Education officials to focus on the inclusion of students with disabilities in all schools, while they implement new admission initiatives to increase the number of middle and high schools serving English Learners and Students with Disabilities.

INCLUDEnyc (formerly Resources for Children with Special Needs) has worked with hundreds of thousands of individuals since our founding 35 years ago helping them navigate the complex special education service and support systems, so that young people with disabilities can be included in all aspects of New York City life.

We commend the Department of Education on their efforts to better integrate students with disabilities through their Diversity in Admissions Plan. In our work, we see firsthand the need for diverse New York City schools, and how greater diversity helps close the academic achievement gap between nondisabled students and students with disabilities.

However, we believe that all schools must be held accountable for programatically, socially, and culturally supporting students with disabilities to achieve diversity and meaningful inclusion. The Department of Education must raise the proficiency and graduation rates for the 193,000+ school-age students with disabilities in New York City, foster better social and emotional skills among students, and increase the independent skills of students with more involved needs.  The future of all our students depends on us doing this, and doing it well.

As a result, we recommend that the Department of Education does the following:

  • Increase the number of members on the School Diversity Advisory group whose primary responsibility is to represent the interests of students with disabilities
  • Add quantitative and qualitative measurements to the existing accountability structures, which include Learning Surveys, Quality Reviews, and School Quality Reports, that assess the extent in which a school meaningfully integrates students with disabilities with non-disabled students
  • Require schools to track and report on inclusive activities that occur between co-located schools in buildings and their students

Thank you for taking the time today to consider this important matter. We look forward to partnering with you to improve equity and access for all young people with disabilities in New York City.

Sincerely,

Barbara A. Glassman
Executive Director


- Lori

Follow Lori on Twitter: @Podvesker