New York City officials said a citywide program to centrally translate students’ individualized education programs (IEPs) will become permanent.
IEPs outline a student’s individual goals and the services they’re entitled to, such as speech or occupational therapy or a smaller class size with specialized focus. But even as advocates said the centralized process is a step in the right direction, the burden is still on families to request that the documents be translated, and families may not know they can request a translation. For now, there is a large gap between the number of families who may need translated IEPs and the requests.
According to city officials, about 78,000 students with disabilities live in homes where English is not the primary language. The city estimated that 1,100 IEPs had been translated so far this school year.
It remains unclear to what extent the pandemic may have curtailed families’ requests for translated IEPs or how those figures stack up historically, since the Education Department did not track how many IEPs were translated by individual schools before the process was centralized. However, supporters said the new translation process represents progress.
“It’s way overdue,” said Lori Podvesker, a policy expert at INCLUDEnyc, an advocacy group for special education. “If special ed documents are not translated that prevents families from being a part of the decision-making, and that equates to inferior outcomes.”
Read Full Article from Chalkbeat New York (NY) (12/01/21)
Author: Zimmerman, Alex
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