A newly appointed 33-member Statewide Special Education Task Force will hold its first meeting all day Tuesday at the San Mateo County Office of Education in Redwood City.
The foundation-funded task force was created at the request of State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and Stanford University Professor of Education Linda Darling-Hammond, who chairs the state Commission on Teaching Credentialing. The task force will spend the next year examining key aspects of special education: its mission and purpose, integration with the new Common Core State Standards, teacher preparation and training, aspects of funding and better ways to provide services for special education students. The task force will make its final recommendations in November 2014.
State Board of Education member Carl Cohn, a retired district superintendent, and Fred Weintraub, a court-appointed special education monitor of Los Angeles Unified, will co-chair the task force. Its members include special education teachers, university education professors, school district administrators and representatives of special education parent support groups. A number of the members are also parents of special education students, according to Maureen Burness, a retired assistant superintendent of Folsom Cordova Unified, who is a co-executive director of the task force. Vicki Barber, a retired superintendent of El Dorado County, is the other co-executive director.
Kirst, Darling-Hammond and Rich Zeiger, chief deputy state superintendent, will lead off a general discussion of issues at the meeting on Tuesday. The education agency WestEd will present data on special education in California.
The full agenda of the meeting and a list of members are on the task force website.