IMPLEMENTING LEGAL MANDATES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF NEW YORK CITY AND THE LORA DECREE

CAROL ANN ROCHE, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored the implementation of legal mandates in special education in NYC through an analysis and evaluation of the Lora Decree; in particular, its order for staff development. The decree, issued in July, 1979, was based on Lora (1978). The case involved the rights of handicapped children and the over-representation of minority children in special education; it specifically concerned the Special Day Schools for emotionally disturbed students, but the decision applied to all of special education. The decree mandated training for all staff members to inform and sensitize them regarding the issues in the case. It was the first time a court ordered staff development to promote educational equity policy, and the first time NYC public schools were closed for staff development.^ This study was designed to (1) place special education policies within an historical, theoretical, and practical framework; (2) analyze issues raised in Lora; (3) discuss the affect of these policies on special education in NYC; and (4) evaluate the impact of the staff program in selected elementary schools.^ Major findings were (1) there were changes in schools as a consequence of the Lora project; (2) the most frequently reported change areas were: role of the SBST, relationship between regular and special personnel, referral procedures, awareness of bias, and mainstreaming; (3) significant relationships were noted between two school characteristics (size of pupil population and pupil ethnicity) and change areas reported; (4) the project was generally perceived as effective in improving knowlege and changing some school practices, but far less effective in changing attitudes; (5) the project was perceived more favorably by principals than by other staff members; (6) the project aroused resentment and hostility in many staff members; resentment against special education and hostility towards the Court and the BOE.^ The investigation concluded that Lora, in conjunction with other policy occurring at the same time, had a reverse effect: more children than ever before were placed in special education. ^

Subject Area

Special education

Recommended Citation

ROCHE, CAROL ANN, "IMPLEMENTING LEGAL MANDATES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF NEW YORK CITY AND THE LORA DECREE" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8314609.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8314609

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