Privates: "Counseled Out" After Getting In

The New York Times takes a look at how private schools in New York City counsel kids out, and the debate over whether it's better for the kids or merely better for the school (Counseled Out). Interesting to note that the schools offer intensive tutoring before they make the move.  


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  • This article is concerned with students at elite private schools where parents pay 10,000-$20,000 a year for their tuition. They have a right to admit and dismiss those they feel do not meet their standards. Where are the articles on charter schools that do the same thing? They are using OUR money and should be answerable to the taxpayers who are funding this private education.

  • Actually, since it is NYC private schools being discussed in the article, a better tuition estimate would be 20-40K per year for the top schools. Pretty stupid, as far as I am concerned. Who in the world spends that kind of money on elementary school??? People with too much money, that's who. I didn't spend 40K for my entire undergraduate and graduate programs put together.

  • There are several issues raised in the discussion of the NYT article on private schools counseling out students. The first one relates to the issue raised in the very first post about disability issues and private schools, also this issue and its intersection with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA covers students with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools only in a very limited manner. These students once formally identified as non-attending public school students with disabilities can be provided special education services, but the local school district is only responsible for fulfilling a service plan, different than Individual Education Plan (IEP), that is funded based on what is called proportionate share which is amount of Federal funds to be provided for parentally-placed private school children with disabilities within any school district be it in New York or Chicago. These services based on the limited funding are extremely limited. The family of a parentally-placed student cannot litigate against the local school district providing those services or paying for those services while the student in question is enrolled in a private school. The law states "No parentally-placed private school child with a disability has an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that the child would receive if enrolled in a public school."

    This rule does not apply to students placed by public schools in private special education schools at public expense, these families retain full litigation rights and have standard IEPs. Private schools if they receive public funds may have some Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) responsibilities for students, but these are not service driven entitlements as they are with IDEA. Depending on the year the private school building was built or modified under the ADA the private school, if it is not afiliated with a church, may have to provide phyisical access for some disabled students, visitors, and staff.

    However, there is an exception to this general rule, and that is when a family believes that their child is not receiving a legally appropriate public education and places the child initially at their own expense in the private school. If formal notice is given to the school district at an IEP meeting and the parents remove the child they can litigate against the school district for tuition reimbursement. Sometimes these parents win, but more often than not they lose.

    The other issue that merits comment is the statement by Bruno Behrend, who argues that "its time to allow ALL schools, public and private, the right to deny kids access." I can formally state that Access Living of Chicago opposes this concept, and opposes it even in the situation where the family could be provided with full funding for a private special education program or in the case of a non-identified disruptive student a private alternative school program. We also do not believe fiscally it is possible for the public sector to afford an open check book for families of disabled children or disruptive non-identified students who are forced out from the public sector to the private sector or other public schools out of district which would charge tuition.

    Given the realities of public funding school districts would rapidly deny access to students with disabilities and the cost factoring for private education at public expense would rapidly spiral out of control. On top of this issue we have the legal entitlement for students with disabilities to be educated to the maximum extent possible with their non-disabled peers, this mandate has been support in America by both conservatives and liberals.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Yes, this mandate has been supported by both conservatives and liberals but I think that decision is beginning to be reconsidered at the ground level for some disabilities. I don't think anyone disagrees that students with physical handicaps or non-disruptive cognitively disabled students should be educated with their non-disabled peers. I think where you start to see some argument (though not legally) is with students who are BD or otherwise emotionally disturbed who are disruptive or violent and who can't be sanctioned for their behavior.

    To be sure, there's been no legal argument, but what instead has been happening is a movement of the non-disabled students to charter schools which has thus far had the effect of leaving the disruptive disabled students concentrated in the neighborhood schools. I'm not sure that's tenable or moral in the long term.

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