De Blasio signs bill requiring annual special education reports

Parents and advocates will have access to new data about how well the city is serving its special-education students next year, thanks to a new city law.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill, which requires the Department of Education to produce an annual special-education report, on Monday. He was flanked by City Council education committee chair Daniel Dromm and Corinne Rello-Anselmi, the Department of Education’s deputy chancellor in charge of special education.

The annual reports will detail how long students wait to be evaluated and to receive services, as well as the percentage of students whose needs are being partially and fully met across the city and in each of the city’s school districts.

The reports will also break down those statistics by students’ race, gender, grade, English language learner status, and free or reduced-price lunch status, which advocates have said will provide a better look at exactly who is receiving required special-education services and where schools, or the city, are falling short.

“This will help us to determine what changes are necessary to create better, more responsive special education services and ultimately, benefit many thousands of students,” Dromm said.

The city’s first report will be released in February 2016 and will include statistics for the 2014-15 school year. Subsequent reports will be released each November.