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"Plan to change special-ed rules" [News, Nov. 14] has nothing to do with what is best for students with disabilities. This plan to limit participation by school psychologists on committee reviews is based solely on reducing special education costs in New York State. This is shameful.

Participation by school psychologists on all committee reviews is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Input from these highly trained professionals helps determine student evaluations, behavioral programs and follow-up assessments. Their findings help determine the type of placement a special education student requires.

As an educator, parent of a severely disabled son, and former member of a school committee on special education, I place a high value on input from the school psychologist. He or she is best qualified to interpret the tests and evaluations being presented at committee meetings and to make meaningful recommendations.

Judy Eisman, Great Neck

I am writing to express my outrage that state education officials, who are designated as our watchdogs in education, would dare to propose such an uneducated approach to balance the budget.

I am the parent of a college student who, at age 3, was diagnosed with learning disabilities. Unlike many parents, I understood early on that I needed to advocate for my child's right to an education.

What I learned in my journey is it was all about who was paying for it, and how much we, as parents, were willing to take on the educational powers. Make no mistake, this was not a position for the weak or shy. I was forced to face questions from special education administrators such as, "What would you like us to do?" when they were attempting to withdraw services, and grade administrators informed me that they were not here to make a C student into an A student.

I recorded the sessions and was accompanied by social workers and teachers. I had my child tested by doctors and psychologists outside the school district. When all else was going against my child's needs, I ended meetings until I could bring in reinforcements.

My child graduated as president of her high school classwith honors. Where would she be today, if not for the services she received from age 3? What happens to the children who have no one to advocate for them?

Perhaps other solutions to the budget deficits should be explored.

Carol Ferrante, Oakdale

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