New York lawmakers want students with disabilities who receive individual education plans to be able to continue to receive special education services after turning age 21 -- addressing a need that arose in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measure approved earlier this month in the state Senate is meant to aid students who did not receive their individualized education plan because of the pandemic.
Students who receive those education services can be removed from the program as soon as they reach 21. But the pandemic disrupted instruction for students across the state, including those with disabilities.
“The pandemic disrupted a good deal of our state’s education system, and among those most impacted were students with unique needs, who missed out over two years’ worth of programs and services,” said Sen. Peter Harckham. “This bill recognizes that these students should be allowed to finish their programs because of the structure and stability they provide, which all help the students to thrive.”
In large part, the measure is meant to clarify existing law to amend the "age out" rule for individualized education plans. Under the measure, the law would change to allow students to complete their education plans until the age of 23.
School districts would have the approval to continue providing special educational services to students who turned 21 in the 2022-23 school year and are enrolled in the district. The measure would take effect immediately after approval in the state Assembly and by the governor.
A similar law was approved in June 2021 to address students who turned 21 during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.