Thursday, June 21, 2012

Assemblywoman Weinstein's Education Bill Made the Entire Session Worthwhile

Hikind, Weinstein and Silver
A new education law passed today. Sponsored by my colleague Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, this was by far one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of the recent session in Albany. The amendments to the education laws will dramatically ease the burden of parents educating special needs children in three ways:
  1. The new law now ensures that Committees of Special Education (CSE) consider a child’s home and upbringing to determine the child’s most appropriate educational environment. Previously, the Dept. of Education only looked at educational factors; there was no credence given to how a family’s background would impact how the child learned.
  2. In addition, the new law eliminates the length and tediousness of the tuition reimbursement process. Parents who found themselves waiting for a year for placement—and longer for tuition reimbursement—will now find that applications must be processed within 90 days of filing, and reimbursement for approved applications must be paid out within 30 days. Yeshivas will no longer find it necessary to pressure parents for promised monies.
  3. A third plank of the new law eliminates the re-application process. Each year, parents of special-ed children have found themselves repeating the entire litigious process: visiting schools, proving that schools are appropriate or not, and so forth. The new law says that once a program is deemed appropriate, it remains appropriate as long as the child’s IEP hasn’t changed.
Helene Weinstein is a superstar. This took years of work but Helene championed this important issue through to the end. Our communities can’t thank her enough. This alone would have made the entire legislative session worthwhile.

I must also give credit to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his role in seeing the legislation passed, as well as Assembly Members Mike Simanowitz, Steve Cymbrowitz, Phil Goldfedder and Rhoda Jacobs; numerous members of Agudath Israel of America; Rabbi Shiya Ostrecicher, Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Mordechai Biser, and Leah Steinberg; as well as community leaders Leon Goldenberg and Chaskel Bennett.

Many of the players will be joining me this Saturday evening on "The Dov Hikind Show" to talk about the history of this important new law and the momentous advantages the new law will deliver to families with special needs children throughout the community.

1 comment:

  1. yay!!!! thanx to all the people who have helped, pushed and fought for us, i really, really really appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart. now i can concentrate and use my strength to help and guide and be an effective parent to my special needs children!!!!