The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling requiring the City of New York to pay for the private school tuition of disabled students. The 2006 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that, regardless of whether parents of disabled children avail themselves of the public school system first, the New York City school system must pay the disabled students' private school costs. According to the New York Times, "the case has been closely watched by educators. Almost seven million students nationwide receive special-education services, with 71,000 educated in private schools at public expense, according to the federal Education Department. Usually, districts agree to pay for those services after conceding that they cannot provide suitable ones."