Public advocate finds a backlog in disability evaluations for BX school kids
The public advocate found that it is taking longer for children to be evaluated for disabilities.
For children to be placed in special education, a psychologist must first evaluate them. But according to Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, some 5,000 evaluations have been completed, which is down from a recent high of 8,000. Gotbaum says that is a huge drop and feels something is wrong.
Gotbaum believes there are just not enough school psychologists to do the work since the Department of Education eliminated nearly 1,000 evaluator positions. As a result, Gotbaum says parents are now waiting a month or more for an answer as to whether their child needs to be in special education.
The Department of Education says the new streamlined system is intended to move from a system that was overly focused on counting the number of referrals to a system focused on improving the quality of classroom instruction based on more informed evaluations.
Gotbaum says she doesn't think the Department of Education has bad intentions but believes the evaluation process needs to be improved.