The city says it is making progress in educating students with disabilities, but advocates say it's not fast enough.
"There are still 29,000 students with disabilities in New York City who did not receive their full mandated special education instruction by the end of the year," said Randi Levine, Policy Director, Advocates for Children.
That number was revealed by the city education department in a new report it sent to the City Council.
It amounts to 15 percent of all special education students. That's an improvement over the year before when 21 percent of special education students did not receive all required services.
But elected officials and advocates say too many children are still missing out on special classes or extra instruction that schools are legally mandated to provide them.
"In over 29,000 cases, they are in violation of the law," said Councilman Mark Treyger.
And Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children, says those violations translate into significant challenges for children.
"We see only 16% of students with disabilities are reading proficiently, so this is not just a question of complying with the law it's question of improving the educational outcomes for students with disabilities," Levine said.
City law required the Education Department to provide the new data, but Levine says it doesn't reveal the full picture.
The department only reveals how many students received the required instruction at the end of the last school year, not all year long.
"A student who went many months without receiving the special education class that they needed but finally got that class in February, in June, is fully counted under this data set," said Levine.
The education department says it has hired more staff and beefed up programs to help special education students.
“We’re making progress and seeing results, but there’s work to do and we are taking a comprehensive approach to ensure our students with disabilities have the services they need to thrive in our classrooms,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
The report was one of three the department was required to hand over to the council by the end of October. The other two, also released Friday provided updated numbers on student suspensions and school bus problems.