According to a recent report, only about 31% of New York City public schools are accessible. The report from Advocates for Children of New York says the districts with the highest percentage of schools that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act are in Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx.
Sarah Part, senior policy analyst with Advocates for Children of New York, says the group is asking the DOE to invest $1.25 billion in accessibility upgrades in their next capital plan. The city set aside $750 million for these improvements in its capital plan for 2020-2024. That funding ends in 2024. By that time, more than one-third of schools will be fully accessible – with only one district having half of all schools accessible.
This projected investment will play a role in completing 150 to 200 buildings by 2029. While this may be costly, Part believes it will compensate for the lack of investment made following the passage of the ADA. She explains other potential problems.
“I know with widespread inflation and construction costs have been rising,” said Part. “That makes it more difficult for the school construction authorities to do such projects. Some buildings are quite old, and it’s also just like the city’s school system is so massive and sprawling, the scale of the problem is just really huge.”
Part expressed gratitude for the improvements made thus far but noted that much work still needs to be done. She hopes they’ll finish all of these improvements to education in time for the ADA’s 40th anniversary in 2030.
All students should be able to get the help they need in school. Inclusive education starts with accessing the same education as non-disabled students. Disabled Students who attend New York City public schools should be in class with their peers. A separate education is not an inclusive education.
Viera, Edwin J. “Report: Two-Thirds of NYC Schools Not ADA Compliant.” Public News Service, Lark Corbeil , 28 Aug. 2023, http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2023-08-28/disabilities/report-two-thirds-of-nyc-schools-not-ada-compliant/a85987-1.