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New York Seeks Waiver under “Every Student Succeeds Act”

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) is a law passed in 2015 that sets out to ensure that all students are afforded an equal opportunity to succeed through public education. In essence, the Act requires that states implement education programs that put students on a track to succeed and do not overlook certain groups of students in favor of the majority. Under the current ESSA framework, states are given much of the control, and the federal government acts only as a stop-gap to ensure that the standards set by the state are not too low.

In recent news, New York has sought a waiver from the ESSA mandates. New York has requested waivers from two provisions. First, New York is seeking to administer standardized testing for special needs students “below their chronological grade level.” This would allow schools to provide some special-needs children with standardized tests that were designed for younger, less advanced children. In theory, the children would perform better on these tests, and in turn New York would have an easier time meeting its education goals.

New York is also seeking to exclude the test results of recently enrolled English learners from the students’ results used to calculate the state’s progress toward its education goals. Again, the state hopes that by excluding these students who presumably are performing poorly, the overall New York education picture will look more favorable.

According to a recent news report, 17 civil rights groups across the county came together in opposition to New York’s waiver requests. The groups’ collective position was that the request overlooks important groups of students that the ESSA was specifically designed to protect. A letter in opposition to the waiver request stated that “low-income children, children of color, children with disabilities, English learners, and Native children have been left behind for far too long and deserve no less than a robust and thorough state plan review to ensure an excellent and equitable education.”

Every Child Deserves a Good Education

Schools are required to provide each student with a valuable education, regardless of the student’s individual needs. Thus, if a student has special needs, the student’s school is required to make certain accommodations to meet those needs and overcome any barriers that may interfere with the students’ ability to learn. However, in reality, schools too often see special-needs students as “difficult” and chose to route them through the disciplinary system rather than provide them with the additional assistance they are required to provide.

Is Your Student Not Getting the Education They Deserve?

If you believe that your student’s school is not treating your student fairly due to a disability, or that the school is refusing to make a reasonable accommodation, you should contact the Law Offices of Ira S. Newman. Education is a fundamental right, and Attorney Newman has extensive experience practicing New York education law, making sure that his clients’ children are afforded the education that they need and deserve. Call 800-206-7375 to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Newman today.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Federal Court Determines Veteran Was Entitled to Higher Signing Bonus from Employer Upon Return from Service, New York Business Litigation Attorney Blog, November 13, 2017.

Housing Discrimination Is Illegal in New York City, New York Business Litigation Attorney Blog, November 27, 2017.