Extended School Year As A Microcosm Of Special Education Dysfunction

jeffrey m hartman

Extended School Year (ESY) services embody the irrationality of special education. From its origin to its implementation, ESY reflects special education’s fundamental flaws.

For the uninitiated, ESY is a set of services for students with IEPs who exhibit skill regression or delayed skill recoupment following scheduled breaks from school. ESY services allow teams to continue working towards IEP goals during the summer for the sake of maintaining progress. Each IEP team determines student eligibility, but students with the most severe disabilities tend to automatically qualify.

Teachers don’t introduce new content or skills during ESY programs. The point is to maintain performance levels through repeated practice. ESY services typically focus on select goals per student rather than on entire IEPs. Although the aims of ESY are limited, related services such as therapy or one-to-one assistance are expected to be in place.

IEP teams must consider ESY services for every student with…

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