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Monitors Say Special Education Oversight In New Orleans Can End, But A Civil Rights Group Disagrees

The Lens
Cypress Academy was one of the schools selected for targeted monitoring. The school was well-known for enrolling a high percentage of special education students and logged the highest number of per-student special education service minutes the year it was

The Louisiana Department of Education and the NOLA Public Schools district are ready to be released from a five-year-old federal consent judgment that requires additional and in-depth oversight of special education admissions and services at the city’s charter schools, according to independent monitors who oversee the judgment.

The landmark 2015 consent agreement settled a 2010 class-action lawsuit, brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center and ten families against the state Department of Education. The New Orleans school district was later added as a defendant in 2012. The suit charged that the city’s charter schools were admitting too few special-needs students and failing to provide proper services to the ones they did enroll. The settlement has ensured that third-party monitors oversee the state department’s oversight of special education in charter schools in New Orleans.

In their latest status report, covering the 2018-2019 school year, the monitors found the state had achieved “substantial compliance” with the consent decree for the third year in a row. Under the terms of the consent decree, the city’s schools can be released from monitoring after achieving substantial compliance and maintaining it for two more consecutive years.

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