Report: Special education students getting left behind

BROOKLYN - Special education students remain far behind their counterparts when it comes to graduating and making the grade, according to a state education report released Monday.

The New York State Education Department found less than 23 percent of those students in third through eighth grade met English exam requirements. Less than 40 percent of students in the same grades passed math exams.

At the high school level, less than 40 percent of special education students graduated in four years, compared to 71 percent of traditional students.

Parents are calling for more resources and attention from Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. "They need to train teachers better to handle special needs kids," said parent Lula Williams.

Williams' daughter, Wajeedah Rogers, who graduated Monday from the fifth grade, was born addicted to drugs. Rogers had a speech impediment and perceptual depth problems.

Still, the girl and her classmates complain the work they are assigned is often too easy. They say they often alphabetize words or do a few pages of assignments.

The NYSED said it plans to identify schools with successful special education programs and try to mimic those practices. By doing so, officials hope more special education students will excel in the classroom.

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