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PDE Widens Investigation and Remedy For Young Children With Disabilities Transitioning to Kindergarten in Philadelphia

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has significantly broadened its corrective action in response to ELC’s administrative complaint alleging that the School District of Philadelphia denied young children with disabilities timely evaluations and special education services upon transitioning to Kindergarten or First Grade.  In its prior Complaint Investigation Report (“CIR”) PDE required the District to determine whether it denied any child’s right to receive mandated services during this critical transition, and if so, to issue compensatory education to make up for lost services.  At ELC’s urging through a Request for Reconsideration, PDE agreed to verify the accuracy of the District’s determination that 170 children had been denied services with a random file review.  Recently completed, that review disclosed that the District failed to identify a significant number of students who were denied special education services.  In response, PDE has now expanded its investigation to include an additional 1,795 students with disabilities who transitioned to school last fall to ensure that all children receive needed make-up services.  ELC will continue to press PDE to ensure every child receives relief.  The District is also required to obtain PDE approval for a new procedure to prevent recurring violations this upcoming fall.  You can read the complaints filed by Independence Foundation Law Fellow Sean McGrath and PDE’s Investigation Reports here.

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