Why must school districts rely on outside companies to hire school workers in special education? Isn’t there more room for error when they hire through unregulated companies?
This is a practice that appears to have started with No Child Left Behind and should fall by the wayside now that NCLB is defunct–since the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed. Shouldn’t it?
Private vendors for public schools are an increasing sign that public schools are being converted, into an approach that leads to privatization.
Vendors have been controversial for larger groups that work in a school—food service, transportation, and custodial work.
Districts also contract with groups like Teach for America and New Leaders and a variety of lesser known companies. Most districts look to cut hiring costs, but this doesn’t mean the end product will be quality. Nor will it necessarily be cheaper in the long run.
Now outsiders are increasingly being used for special education and related services which raises serious concerns.
New York City will spend $25 million to expand services for students with disabilities. For physical and speech therapy, $4.4 million, which could expand next year, will be given to outside service providers.
Forty-five outside contractors will be hired to provide hundreds of therapists to work with about 50,000 students with disabilities in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Parents really have to do their homework to know who will be working with their child. Welcome to the marketplace.
Also, some of those providers have already been in trouble in the past for dishonest practices. The New York Daily News calls them “shady.”
- They have been charged for services they don’t provide.
- There have been false service records.
- They have failed to report allegations of child abuse.
- They failed to maintain adequate insurance.
Despite such improprieties, Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s Panel for Education will award the contracts to a variety of these companies today.
Why must parents have to worry and wonder about the so-called “specialists” working with their children? Parents have enough on their plate and should be able to trust the decisions of those in charge of education.
Why can’t the school district hire their own teachers like they did in the past, ensuring that teachers and specialists are credible workers?
Where is the principal of the school in the hiring decision? The principal should understand the needs of the students in their schools.
The district personnel department and the principal should be able to determine whether the individual has the right background—including the right credentials for the job.
Special education hiring decisions going to outside companies raises all kinds of accountability questions and concerns.
Unfortunately, with efforts to privatize public education in full swing look for more outside contracts to vendors. Sadly, quality could be sacrificed.
Selecting outside groups to choose personnel is not just a problem in New York City.
Parents and citizens need to pay attention to the personnel decisions being made in their schools when it comes to the instruction of their students. That now also includes those students with special needs.
Jim Katakowski says