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Retiring Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña Leaves a Legacy of Modest Progress for NYC’s 200,000 Special Ed Students

02.20.2018 | The 74 Million | To Kim Sweet, executive director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York, the transition gives de Blasio an opportunity to elevate the needs of disabled students. “In my experience, chancellors tend not to focus on special education in their first term, if they get to it at all,” she said. ”It would be great to see a chancellor who makes education of students with disabilities a top priority from the outset.”

Advocates said that many of the issues Fariña faced on special education predated her tenure or are nationwide problems, such as a shortage of qualified special ed teachers. They are also complicated by the sheer size of the city’s 1.1 million–student public school system, serving nearly 200,000 special needs kids. “There is no other school system in this country that is as big or complex as NYC’s,” Sweet said. “That makes it challenging to look at other districts that seem to do a better job with students with disabilities and simply export their strategies here.” Read article