Cuomo permits older particular training college students to make up COVID losses
Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that will allow school districts to expand education for students with disabilities who are “aging” school but have lost valuable opportunities due to the COVID pandemic.
Under the new law, students with individualized education plans could extend their public schooling from the age of 21 to the age of 23. The extension would be granted to students who were unable to achieve essential learning and life skills because of educational changes that occurred during the COVID-mandatory distance learning and other changes.
“We have removed the obstacle,” said MP Tom Abinanti, who supported the bill.
The law makes it easier for parents to set up school district assessments to determine if their adult child needs more time to meet educational goals.
Although the New York State Education Department issued guidelines in April advising districts to consider extending the extension for certain learners and updated those guidelines again in June, Abinanti said a change in the law was needed.
“It removes the excuse that schools wrongly used that they could not do this because the (state) Statute 21 provides,” said Abinanti, chairman of the congregation’s disability committee. “It has eased the burden of demonstrating an ongoing need. It does not require any extraordinary circumstances. “
The law waives the New York age-out requirement for students who were unable to meet their goals in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 academic years due to pandemic-related obstacles.
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Still, the law says that a district “may” and “must” not offer educational opportunities.
Katy Foxen Faivre, a retired special education teacher in the Somers School District, said the new law opens a window for students whose educational and life skills have suffered during the pandemic-induced months of distance learning.
Within two days of Cuomo’s signing of the law on June 29, Faivre said she had heard from about 10 other families seeking help in meeting with her district’s special education committee to extend the education of their young adults.
“People ask, ‘What do I do now? Does that mean the districts will call us? ‘ “Said Faivre.
“No way,” she said. Parents need to take action. The districts have to pay for the further education of special school students. “You want this to be a secret.”
But some local districts, such as Carmel in Putnam County, proactively announced the guidelines back in April. At this point, the county granted Tyler Mason, 21 years old with autism, an additional year of school. His individualized plan includes providing life skills and transition services, said his mother, Stacy Reed Mason.
While Mason was relieved to have such support from her district for her son, she said it was not the same for other students in other districts.
With the new law, Mason said, “We are thrilled that every student in every district has the opportunity that our district has given my son Tyler.”
Nancy Cutler writes about People & Policy. Click here for their latest stories. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyrockland.