“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”

Robert M. Hutchins

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Posts Tagged ‘Terms’

Mastering the Language of Special Education in New York City

February 15th, 2011

Skyer Law Glossary of TermsTo help parents master the language of special education in New York City, I have posted an abridged version of my Glossary of Terms. This short list, represents some of the most important terms that parents need when they find themselves negotiating or advocating for their child. You’ll find this by going to the Resource Section of the Skyer Law website under Glossary of Terms.

Why the need for a Special Education Glossary of Terms?

The New York City Department of Education (D.O.E.) is the largest school system in the United States, serving close to 1.1 million students each year, with an estimated annual budget of 23 billion dollars.  Approximately ten percent of the NYC students are classified as children needing special education and have an I.E.P.

The annual budget of the DOE is the equivalent of the gross national product of a small foreign country, like Uruguay or Lebanon!  The number of children and staff in the system, as well as the enormity of money being spent each year, makes it feel as though a parent has entered a foreign country when they deal with this behemoth bureaucracy.

Parents report that they find themselves in waiting rooms, at meetings and in day to day dealings with employees who are seemingly speaking the English language but using words, terms, acronyms and numbers that make no sense.   This strange lexicon of the Department of Education empowers the people who work within the system but can intimidate or frighten a parent, particularly someone new to the process.

The new language being used by a group of relative strangers has great impact on the life of your child.  Critical decisions about your child’s educational options and life are being made, and it’s not uncommon for a parent not to fully understand everything that is being said.

The full glossary is a work in progress and should be available from my office later in the year.