Queens lawmakers announce DOE reversal on decision to transfer special education teachers from non-public schools

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The New York City Department of Education (DOE) has decided to keep special education teachers serving non-public schools in place following concerns brought forth by Queens lawmakers. 

Assemblymembers Daniel Rosenthal and Nily Rozic, along with state Senator Joseph Addabbo, advocated for a review of the policy by the DOE and the mayor’s office. Following the conversations, the city determined that Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) providers would continue in their assignments for at least one additional school year from 2019 to 2020. 

“We are committed to ensuring that all New York City students received a great education, and we are glad we can continue the SETSS services as previously provided,” said Karin Goldmark, DOE deputy chancellor of school planning and development. 

The city employs 10 special education teachers to provide support to students with disabilities attending nine non-public schools in Queens. Changes in federal law regarding service delivery for federally funded services raised the concern that special education teachers might be assigned. 

Due to the sudden nature of the announcement, the news was met with backlash from parents, school administrators and special education teachers alike. The special education teachers were expected to receive new assignments across the city by September. 

Following the news of possible provider transfers, Rosenthal’s office began advocating for continued SETSS funding, the assemblyman said. 

“The success of the SETSS program is evidenced by the hundreds of students and parents that have reached out to share their personal stories,” Rosenthal said. “I am grateful to the DOE for listening to our concerns and for taking action to ensure that all students are afforded quality comprehensive special education services.”

Addabbo’s office also received phone calls from teachers and parents asking if there was anything they could do to save the program. 

After working with the DOE, the lawmakers are thankful that they have reversed their decision and will allow the SETTS instructors to remain with their current assignments for the 2019-2020 school year. 

“Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) educators have been providing the highest quality educational services for students in non-public schools for years,” Rozic said. “I am glad that the Department of Education has agreed to allow the SETSS program to continue for the 2019/2020 school year and will continue advocating for the services all students deserve.”