State Improves On Inclusive Education
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 30, 2003
ALBANY, NEW YORK--The state Department of Education had good news Monday for students with disabilities and advocates for inclusive education.
According to a "Report Card" on the state's public education system, more "special needs" students spent more time in regular classrooms, their grades improved overall, and the numbers of those moving on to higher education increase dramatically during the last school year.
For the first time, more than half of all students in special education programs -- 51 percent -- spent more than 80 percent of their day in general classrooms instead of segregated programs.
In 2001, 36,249 such students attended New York colleges and universities, up from 24,953 just five years earlier. The graduation rate for students with disabilities in two-year community colleges is nearly the same as for those without disabilities.
These are significant improvements, say officials, who point out that New York has been under pressure from the federal government to improve its inclusive education of students with disabilities.
There is still much work that needs to be done. Black students are still labeled for special education at a much higher rate than white children. Also, much progress on inclusion has been occurring in the pre-kindergarten ages rather than the higher grade levels.