Special-education students in New Mexico’s public school system are getting overlooked and underserved during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and advocates told state lawmakers Thursday.
As they discussed the many challenges facing kids with disabilities — the lack of in-person and ancillary services and a reliance on untrained parents to teach children learning remotely from home as school campuses remain closed — advocates suggested the state’s special-education system is broken.
“School districts are struggling to provide special-education needs as it is,” Laurel Nesbitt, an attorney with the nonprofit Disability Rights New Mexico, told members of the newly formed Legislative Disabilities Concerns Subcommittee during a remote meeting Thursday.
Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, the parent of an adult with a disability, put it in blunt terms. Describing what it’s like to walk into a room full of strangers poised to evaluate your child, she said, “It’s adversarial — it’s you against the world,