Remote learning could have caused special education students to fall behind

Morgan McKay - Spectrum Local News

September 09, 2021

Remote learning last year most likely caused students with disabilities to fall significantly behind in their education, according to a recent State Comptroller report.

Dr. Ellenmorris Tiegerman, founder and CEO of Tiegerman Schools, says these students need specific services and support that are highly challenging to do from home.

“You have complicated situations for most families today,” Tiegerman explained. “It's not so easy to sit down five hours a day next to a child with a special needs and sit in front of a tablet or an iPad. It's very difficult.”

Schools will collaborate with a student’s family, special education teachers and service providers like speech therapists and more to come up with an individualized teaching plan for students with disabilities. These are called an IEP, individualized education program.

The comptroller's report found that 46% of students with disabilities in New York City did not receive or only received part of the services outlined in their individual plans, which could contribute to learning losses.

Senator John Mannion, who was a teacher for 30 years, says if schools do have to switch to remote learning again, districts need to have a plan in place for these students.

“I hope and believe in the school districts that I interact with, that a plan is in place,” Mannion explained. “At least number one, they've acknowledged that this is a population when we face these challenges and shift to remote learning, that we have to be creative.”

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