January 18, 2017

Private special education school advocates push for more awareness

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Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Rich Robison of the Federation for Children with Special Needs, Carla Jentz of Massachusetts Administrators of Special Education, and attorney Paige Tobin testified Tuesday at an oversight hearing on private special education schools.

BOSTON — Representatives of organizations that work with private special education schools urged lawmakers Tuesday to help make more information available about such programs that serve students with needs for intensive services.

“Somebody said, we need a Yelp for the schools, or some other kind of interactive site that allows people to really get a sense of what’s happening and a place to ask questions,” said Rich Robison, executive director of the Federation for Children with Special Needs.

“Because we are so consumer-driven these days, I guess, and interactive instantaneously, when people are looking for information about kind of a profile of these schools and things like that, they need to get more than just perhaps what is maybe listed as the public relations side of things.”

Robison testified at the final in a series of oversight hearings begun last year by the Joint Committee on Education, examining practices around schools authorized under state law to provide education and treatment to publicly funded students with severe and complex disabilities.

Courtesy Kelly Rawson

Gino Berthiaume

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