Wednesday, October 08, 2008

For Students With Special Needs, a Vow Of Assistance

Two new D.C. pilot programs may ultimately help the system return some of the 2,300 students with special needs currently placed in private schools to the public school system, Washington, D.C., school leaders announced Tuesday. The elementary pilot places such students in general classrooms with special education support, while the middle-school pilot targets students with individualized instruction that involves social workers and psychologists as well as educators. The Washington Post
By Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 8, 2008; Page B04

District officials, under mounting pressure from a federal judge to overhaul special education services in public schools, promised significant improvements over the next year, including the return of some children now in private schools because the city could not meet their needs.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, joined by Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and other top officials on the steps of a Northwest D.C. middle school yesterday, said that two pilot programs underway this academic year will begin to make the school system a more welcoming place for some of the 11,000 children with learning disabilities or behavioral challenges. Rhee also expressed confidence that starting next year the District will be able to begin bringing back to the public schools some of the 2,300 special education students placed in private schools -- at an annual cost of more than $200 million.

"Each and every child should have the opportunity to succeed," Fenty said. More

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