Credit: Lillian Mongeau/EdSource Today

Updated March 7.

A statewide task force unveiled Friday a 222-page plan to dramatically improve education for students with disabilities, described as the crucial next step in education reform in California.

With schools in the state in the throes of adjusting to three new education reforms – the switch to local school district control over spending, the introduction of Common Core State Standards, and the roll-out of new student assessments – the Statewide Task Force on Special Education is calling for a greater integration of much of special education into the education system, including teacher training, early interventions, the use of evidence-based practices and data tracking.

“Instead of opening the door to a brighter future, special education for many students is a dead end,” states the report, “One System: Reforming Education to Serve All Students.”

Among the recommendations are a “common trunk” of preparation curricula for teachers and special education teachers, the equalization of funding for special education students across the state and state payment of costs now borne by districts for preschool for young children with significant disabilities.

The report states that early interventions for students at risk for learning, developmental or other disabilities would save “billions of dollars” in future costs. Shorter term savings would come from reducing the number of segregated special education classrooms that require separate teachers and pupil transportation, said Michael Kirst, president of the State Board of Education, in an email. Kirst and Linda Darling-Hammond, chairwoman of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, instigated the creation of the Statewide Special Education Task Force, a group formed in 2013 to study special education services and recommend changes in policy and practice.

But much remains unclear about where the funding will come for many of the proposals, which include  interventions for infants to 3-year-olds, preschool for more students, and additional professional development for teachers. Also proposed is that new or remodeled school facilities be designed to place special education classrooms in close proximity to other classrooms to allow peers to mingle.

“We are consulting with the Department of Finance about the financial implications,” Kirst said. He noted that the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing “already are working collaboratively on implementation options in response to the recommendations.”

While the report, titled “One System: Reforming Education to Serve All Students,” calls for the “seamless integration” of special education services into schools, Vicki Barber, co-executive director of the task force, made it clear in a February presentation that special education services and protections would not be diminished and that separate schools for students with relatively rare disabilities, such as blindness, would continue.

“This is not a restatement of the law, and not restatement of regulations,” Barber said. “This doesn’t take away any rights or any options for students.”

But the changes in how, when and by whom special education services are provided requires a shift in thinking about nearly every aspect of special education, from teacher training to funding, according to the report.

Teachers and special education teacher will be trained together in reading and language arts interventions, content standards, behavioral management and the use of data to monitor progress. Special education teachers, who will receive in-depth training in supporting students with disabilities, will earn authorization to teach non-special education students. Special education aides will receive professional development and opportunities to become credentialed teachers.

The state has been out of compliance with federal law for years by over-segregating special education students in separate classrooms. Having students spend more time in classrooms with their non-special education peers is both a goal and a mandate.

Connie Kasari, a professor in human development and psychology at the school of education at UCLA, said that in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 14,000 students have been diagnosed with autism. “The majority of those children can function in a general education classroom,” Kasari said. “They have the intelligence to do the academics, but the teachers are not prepared. The children might need some accommodations.”

Barbara Schulman, chairwoman of the Special Education Committee of the California Teachers Association State Council, voiced her support for the change with a quotation from playwright George Bernard Shaw: “Progress is impossible without change,” Schulman said in a statement, “and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

The report states that California has done a poor job of educating students with disabilities, who represent one out of 11 students in the state. Ninety percent of students receiving special education services possess the same range of intellectual ability as their peers but have speech, learning, hearing, mobility or other disabilities, according to the task force. The services they receive include specialized tutoring, behavioral counseling and medical assistance.

And as measured by graduation rate, academic achievement, college enrollment or career placement, California students in special education as a group are vastly underperforming. In 2011-12, about 40 percent of students with disabilities passed the high school exit examination as 10th graders, compared to 87 percent of students without disabilities. The achievement levels of students with disabilities in California are among the lowest in all 50 states, the report said.

“Instead of opening the door to a brighter future, special education for many students is a dead end,” states the report.

“The challenge is not that we don’t know how to fix it,” the report continues. “The most difficult challenge is always knowing where and how to begin.”

“These disappointing outcomes are not the result of any lack of desire or commitment,” the report says, noting that effective teaching practices have been talked about for years and teachers and specialists have worked hard to help students with disabilities learn. “But,” the report says, “California’s system of education is its own country: huge and complicated.”


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  1. Clare Archer 5 months ago5 months ago

    I have been working in the field of public school special education for 19 years as a paraprofessional. I feel that I have more than the typical knowledge base regarding working with special education students. No one with any serious interest in education wants to return to the days of separate facilites for children with disabilities. But, having said that, realistically speaking, what we have now is NOT working. We have … Read More

    I have been working in the field of public school special education for 19 years as a paraprofessional. I feel that I have more than the typical knowledge base regarding working with special education students.

    No one with any serious interest in education wants to return to the days of separate facilites for children with disabilities. But, having said that, realistically speaking, what we have now is NOT working. We have many students who have IQ’s in the low 80’s….do we really expect or need to expect that they will have the ability to do algebraic equations? Do they have the cognitive abilities to do higher level science, math or language arts? Truthfully, no. Does that mean we abandon them? Absolutely not. Is it realistic to require that they score with the “proficient” range of State testing? Or that the scores of Special Education students be included in the overall rankings of a school?

    The system we have is broken. Few wish to address real issues of lack of family involvement, drug/alcohol impact on our students, low overall IQ’s, and the drive to “make all children successful” (Success meaning what? College bound? Able to live independently? Contribute to society?) Let’s revamp the entire Special Ed system. Sadly, it appears we are driven by fear of litigation.

  2. Ann Kennedy 7 months ago7 months ago

    Sorry, but I have participated in full inclusion programs in elementary schools, middle schools and elementary schools in five different districts since 2004. Students with mild challenges may make academic progress in a general education class, but students with moderate to severe challenges are floundering and want to learn in small groups of students where they can wrestle with new academic skills and concepts and practice till they master the material. I see student self … Read More

    Sorry, but I have participated in full inclusion programs in elementary schools, middle schools and elementary schools in five different districts since 2004. Students with mild challenges may make academic progress in a general education class, but students with moderate to severe challenges are floundering and want to learn in small groups of students where they can wrestle with new academic skills and concepts and practice till they master the material. I see student self esteem plummeting and kids so bored they are teaching themselves to sleep sitting up with their eyes open in class because they have no idea what the teacher is talking about. There is little to no money being spent on the kind of in class support that would be needed to make this full inclusion idea work. Epic Fail.

    Replies

    • Jane Meredith Adams 7 months ago7 months ago

      Ann — what kind of supports would it take to make it work, if you think that’s possible?

  3. Emilio 1 year ago1 year ago

    One area to begin fixing special education is to pass Ed code policies and collective bargaining laws that require school districts to address and define special education programs within their collective bargaining agreements. School District Administration will not address special education unless they are required too. This happens because special education teachers are underrepresented I their teacher unions. Federal and State mandates at this time only ensure the school districts do the … Read More

    One area to begin fixing special education is to pass Ed code policies and collective bargaining laws that require school districts to address and define special education programs within their collective bargaining agreements. School District Administration will not address special education unless they are required too. This happens because special education teachers are underrepresented I their teacher unions. Federal and State mandates at this time only ensure the school districts do the bare minimum for special education students and their teachers.

  4. Sharen 1 year ago1 year ago

    As a parent of a special Ed student, the notion of saving 'billions of dollars' makes me cringe. Unless, as Andrew pointed out, the conditions in our classrooms/schools drastically change, there is absolutely no way that special Ed students with such diverse issues can possibly be served. I'm afraid that what this task force is proposing is a one size fits all 'solution'. It will most definitely be to the detriment of everyone in the … Read More

    As a parent of a special Ed student, the notion of saving ‘billions of dollars’ makes me cringe. Unless, as Andrew pointed out, the conditions in our classrooms/schools drastically change, there is absolutely no way that special Ed students with such diverse issues can possibly be served. I’m afraid that what this task force is proposing is a one size fits all ‘solution’. It will most definitely be to the detriment of everyone in the classroom…special Ed, non special Ed, and teachers alike.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      You are right to be concerned. Special Education Specialists from my organization attended all of the meeting of the Task Force and were concerned that the structure of the meetings did not allow them full participation. (Two minute "presentations" during public comment.) They did concede that many of their concerns were finally addressed in the "body of the document or in the Appendices." It has been my experience that many times the concerns and deliberations of … Read More

      You are right to be concerned. Special Education Specialists from my organization attended all of the meeting of the Task Force and were concerned that the structure of the meetings did not allow them full participation. (Two minute “presentations” during public comment.) They did concede that many of their concerns were finally addressed in the “body of the document or in the Appendices.”

      It has been my experience that many times the concerns and deliberations of people working at the policy level do not always address the real concerns of those working at the school and classroom level. And that’s where it really counts.

      Often discussions range across a wide spectrum of opinions, research, and anecdotes but when push comes to shove its all about the money.

      I cannot say if that is the case here.

      There are reasons to suggest that even if it is at least in part about money that it would still make (some) sense. Cold comfort to the parent of an affected student I know. But the reality is CA is stretched for K-12 funding more than any other large industrialized state. Those who work with district budgets understand the largest “encroachment” (a program whose expense exceeds its funding) is almost always special education. This is compounded by the fact that the original, federal, IDEA legislation called for the the federal government to support 40% of the costs it was mandating to the states to support services. The feds have never funded it (in my memory) at even 20% of costs.

      It should be added here that I am not aware of any teachers’ union that has objected to funding special education (psychologists, teachers, other specialists, etc.) fully. Though I do know of some unions that have had to go to considerable lengths to get management to do likewise. This “full funding,” because of the encroachment issue, comes out of the general fund that could go to “other things.”

      Taking all of above into account it should be said that CA’s current model of handing special education issues has been in place for a long time. It may well be time to reevaluate the system and make it more efficient and effective. But, as a parent I would follow these developments closely and, aligned with other parents and compatible organizations, monitor events to insure it really is about “efficiency and effectiveness” and not just about the costs.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        Misconceptions About “Encroachment” "Some local educational agencies (LEAs) complain that local contributions for special education “encroach” upon their general education programs, sometimes implying that any local dollar spent towards educating a student with disabilities (SWD) imposes unfair expenditure requirements on their general purpose budgets." "This argument, however, is a mischaracterization of both federal and state laws. Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state special education categorical funds never were intended to cover the … Read More

        Misconceptions About “Encroachment”

        “Some local educational agencies (LEAs) complain that local contributions for special education “encroach” upon their general education programs, sometimes implying that any local dollar spent towards educating a student with disabilities (SWD) imposes unfair expenditure requirements on their general purpose budgets.”

        “This argument, however, is a mischaracterization of both federal and state laws. Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state special education categorical funds never were intended to cover the full costs of educating a SWD—instead the bulk of the “regular” education costs are intended to be covered using local revenue limit and categorical funding, just as for nondisabled students.”

        “Moreover, federal IDEA and state special education categorical funds never were intended to fully cover the excess costs of educating a SWD—the special education funding model always has been predicated on a three–way cost–sharing model, including local sources. Despite this basic design of the funding model, LEAs sometimes express frustration that their local share of special education costs is too high. This frustration tends to increase as their local share of special education costs increases, as this leaves them with fewer resources to serve other students.”

        From the LAO’s Overview of SPED a couple of years back.

        – Interesting how people selectively use the word encroachment for their own purposes. When it comes to meeting the needs of SWDs that’s encroachment. When it comes to meeting the needs of targeted students for SC grants that isn’t encroachment. But they both draw $$$ from the general fund and they both reduce the amount available per pupil.

    • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

      One-size-fits-all. Is there any other solution ever tried? As for the pontifications of the Legislative Analysts Office, what else could be expected of them? Should they have told the Legislature that this is something that should be considered as a state obligation, not a local obligation? After all, funding the teaching English learners, the poor and the foster youth is now, because of LCFF, a state obligation, not a local obligation. Why isn't the same yardstick applied … Read More

      One-size-fits-all.

      Is there any other solution ever tried?

      As for the pontifications of the Legislative Analysts Office, what else could be expected of them? Should they have told the Legislature that this is something that should be considered as a state obligation, not a local obligation?

      After all, funding the teaching English learners, the poor and the foster youth is now, because of LCFF, a state obligation, not a local obligation. Why isn’t the same yardstick applied to Special Ed students? Why were they “left out” of LCFF when it is known that they need specialized services just as the “unduplicated” student? Is it because those services are more costly? Why do we pretend that a large district like LAUSD should use its “local” funds to pay for all those students whose parents have conveniently moved within its boundaries? Besides, all such “local” funds are counted towards the total Base grant, as I understand it, so therefore they are not “extra” funds that districts can use however they see fit.

      The bottom line is that the education of every California child is paid by the state unless that student lives in the handful of districts that are “basic aid.” To pretend that there are “local” resources is, in my opinion, to live in a lie. Because of Prop. 13 and Serrano we no longer fund schools at the local level. For the state to pretend we do when it comes to Special Ed students is a travesty. A travesty that could, in principle, bankrupt some districts.

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Sharon, before IDEA SPED parents complained vociferously about the having their children segregated in special ed classrooms under the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act and rightly so. IDEA's mainstreaming was a very positive step for large numbers of SWDs, though California has been out of compliance in meeting that IDEA goal. Then there's a danger of going too far in that direction with all the difficulties posed by the overall inadequacy of education funding. … Read More

      Sharon, before IDEA SPED parents complained vociferously about the having their children segregated in special ed classrooms under the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act and rightly so. IDEA’s mainstreaming was a very positive step for large numbers of SWDs, though California has been out of compliance in meeting that IDEA goal. Then there’s a danger of going too far in that direction with all the difficulties posed by the overall inadequacy of education funding.

      It is the rightful charge of the CDE to find cost effective solutions and many of the ideas presented by the task force make a lot of sense though implementing them is a very long term proposition. As a parent of a sped student I learned early on to use the law to advocate for the needs of my child. Those that don’t will likely to continue to get shortchanged no matter what is decided.

      • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

        Your SPED son is very fortunate to have you as a parent, Don, learning the law and using it to advocate for him. As the balance (conveniently for financial reasons) shifts toward inclusion as the only readily available option, the other and more expensive side of the legal coin seems likely to be lost in the process. While inclusion is the favored where it is demonstrably preferable for the individual child involved, … Read More

        Your SPED son is very fortunate to have you as a parent, Don, learning the law and using it to advocate for him.

        As the balance (conveniently for financial reasons) shifts toward inclusion as the only readily available option, the other and more expensive side of the legal coin seems likely to be lost in the process. While inclusion is the favored where it is demonstrably preferable for the individual child involved, SPED law absolutely requires that the “public agency responsible for providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child with a disability must make available the “full continuum of alternative placements”, including instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions to meet the needs of all children with disabilities for special education and related services.”

        Inclusion in a general ed classroom is preferred, where it is best for the individual child. But it is not always best and where it is not, the LEA must make the full range of alternatives available. But so far as I can see in reality, the rest of the full range of alternative are all but being eliminated by many LEA’s. It will be up to astute, involved and proactive parents to ensure that their SPED children are provided with the appropriate alternative and that is is made available.

  5. CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

    Some observations as an involved San Francisco Unified School District parent and volunteer of 16 years, and spouse of a sometime SFUSD teacher: Some families advocate vigorously to have their children identified as qualifying for SPED services. Sometimes those families are frustrated and dismayed that their child's particular disability isn't one that qualifies him or her to receive services. (Turner's Syndrome and sensory integration disorder are two examples, as I understand it.) Some families have the … Read More

    Some observations as an involved San Francisco Unified School District parent and volunteer of 16 years, and spouse of a sometime SFUSD teacher:

    Some families advocate vigorously to have their children identified as qualifying for SPED services. Sometimes those families are frustrated and dismayed that their child’s particular disability isn’t one that qualifies him or her to receive services. (Turner’s Syndrome and sensory integration disorder are two examples, as I understand it.)

    Some families have the opposite view. They take extreme offense at the suggestion that their child be assessed for a disability. (I know of a child with an obvious severe learning disability whose parents insist that she’s just “lazy” and refuse to hear a word about assessment.)

    There is very often a striking racial/socioeconomic divide between these two categories of families.

    Meanwhile, some families passionately want their children with disabilities mainstreamed, and others passionately want them in special day class. The families’ desires don’t necessarily jibe with what teachers and administrators perceive as the needs — let alone perceptions of the families of other children in the general ed classes, who sometimes feel very strongly that their child’s general-ed classmate should be in special day class.

    Also meanwhile, schools and districts are often reluctant to identify students as qualifying for services because those services are very expensive to provide, and are accused of stonewalling, foot-dragging and other delaying/resistance tactics.

    Parents/guardians are required by law to be involved in all these decisions.

    Others may not see the landscape this way, but that’s what I’ve observed. Is that all part of the SPED story?

    Replies

    • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

      Yes, that is what I saw in my nearly 20 years as a public school parent. Plus I hear similar tales from district employees I've known for many years. And of course, what Anna states and Andrew cites is common-place. The System might theoretically be there for the students, but it is run by the adults in their lives. Will this ever change? Only if those who have gone through The System stand up and demand change, … Read More

      Yes, that is what I saw in my nearly 20 years as a public school parent.

      Plus I hear similar tales from district employees I’ve known for many years.

      And of course, what Anna states and Andrew cites is common-place. The System might theoretically be there for the students, but it is run by the adults in their lives.

      Will this ever change? Only if those who have gone through The System stand up and demand change, forcefully, if necessary. I hope that people like Anna and the man Andrew cites take up that challenge, because if they don’t do it, it will continue to be done for and against them.

  6. Anna 1 year ago1 year ago

    I was in special ed from kinder until, in 10th grade they finally put me in gen ed. Diagnosis was only learning disability. I had a para from 6th grade to graduation. I hated coming to school just to be reminded I'm "different". There were a few days in high school when my para was absent and I was FINE. I didn't need someone beside me all day. In 11th grade I stopped going to … Read More

    I was in special ed from kinder until, in 10th grade they finally put me in gen ed. Diagnosis was only learning disability. I had a para from 6th grade to graduation. I hated coming to school just to be reminded I’m “different”. There were a few days in high school when my para was absent and I was FINE. I didn’t need someone beside me all day. In 11th grade I stopped going to my related services, which was only counseling. The counselor tried to convince me to come back, but I had never gone since. In 12th grade English, we were in computer class twice a week and one day the principal came to observe. My para wasn’t sitting next to me, the principal asked my para why she wasn’t with me, so next day my para sat next to me. I was annoyed. Having a para is one of the reasons my HS experience is messed up. My mom asked the school to terminate my IEP (thanks to my begging) but they refused. This was a NYC public high school. I first realized what special ed was in 6th -7th grade, that it was a place for the “different” kids (you know what I mean by “different”) to go. I wanted to get out of special ed and be with “regular” kids. I was upset when I found out I still would have a para in HS. I see many kids write online asking how they can get out of special ed.

    People who make laws and policies regarding special education do not consult former special ed students. After all, *WE* are the ones affected by the laws, and parents and educators do not experience what we experience, thus should not have primary say in laws like IDEA (except regarding people with severe intellectual disabilities who won’t understand). Read an article about special ed policies, it’s always “parents and educators”, never special ed students themselves. I’m not autistic, so I don’t get a say in policies pertaining to autistic people. We are a diverse bunch, labeled under the umbrella “special needs”, even though kids with ADHD are nothing like kids with down syndrome, and I was not like autistic kids. It’s patronizing to labeled with kids with severe disabilities. Most of us want to end disability labeling, or any labels with “special” (i.e. special needs, special education) but people don’t listen to us. Not all of us consider ourselves “disabled” or want that label. We want to end being made to come to school to be reminded were “different”. So listen to us about our experiences of being in special ed / having an IEP, when special ed regulations are being created or discussed, please consult us, and criticize others when they do not. Listen to diverse perspectives / experiences, because an autistic person might have different experiences in special ed than a person with LD, and make sure that is taken account into policy decision.

    Replies

    • Jane Meredith Adams 1 year ago1 year ago

      Hi Anna. I appreciate your comment about the importance of words and the often negative connotation associated with “special education.” It would be interested in knowing if special education leaders have thought about changing the language. The Task Force report talks about a range of “services” available to all students.
      Jane

      • Alison 1 year ago1 year ago

        That’s not how it works. Legislatures are not going to come to you just because you are a former special education student. As a citizen you have to contact your legislators and be the ones who consult them in the development of laws. Part of being an adult means we are not afraid to lobby other adults.

    • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

      I had an enlightening and heartbreaking interview with a young adult who had been diagnosed at a UC medical facility with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). You make excellent points, Anna, in helping others to understand what you needed and in recognizing that needs of some of those with ASD may be quite different. I am greatly concerned that the results of the new inclusion push will be a one-size-fits-all … Read More

      I had an enlightening and heartbreaking interview with a young adult who had been diagnosed at a UC medical facility with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). You make excellent points, Anna, in helping others to understand what you needed and in recognizing that needs of some of those with ASD may be quite different. I am greatly concerned that the results of the new inclusion push will be a one-size-fits-all solution that does not meet the needs of many with ASD.

      The young adult with ASD that I interviewed was reluctant to tell me what had gone on with him, though I assured him of anonymity. At first he just told me that his experiences with education were “OK.” I asked him to especially tell me what it was really like, not to tell me what he thought I wanted to hear. He found that liberating. He said that everyone all his life wanted him to tell them what they wanted to hear. They didn’t care about how he really felt inside, they cared about how they wanted him to feel, so he would answer in ways to make them happy, to get them to leave him alone. Below, paraphrased, but in first person, is part of what he told me:

      “My life as a student was characterized by a lot of pain and discomfort, physical and mental pain that often accompany ASD. For much of my life, I did not even really realize that being in pain was odd or different, because I had never experienced not having pain. I only now realize how much pain I was in because I have been able to find relief from some of that pain through interventions. But if you were to look at my face back then, if you look at pictures of me, if you look at the faces of many with ASD, you will see the pain. How could you miss it?”

      “Teachers and other people wanted me to act in ways that were very uncomfortable and painful for me, very distressing to me, physically and mentally. The more I did what they wanted, the more I pretended, the more uncomfortable and painful it was for me. They wanted me to perform for them like a trained seal. I find being in groups of rowdy kids to be painful and distressing. Do you want to be around crowds of noisy people when you are in pain? I would do things to ease my discomfort, and people would try to get me to stop doing them. They would rather I was in pain. I don’t mind dealing with people a small amount of the time, but it is extremely draining to me and I tire of it very quickly. I like working alone best, and I don’t like to be distracted.. I got to where all I did was pretend to be something I was not, to say what people wanted to hear, to memorize what they wanted to hear. And that is what they liked.”

      “I have a good job now working mostly alone and doing things that I can do that nobody else can do as well. I make a lot more than the teachers who used to try to tell me how I needed to be. I still find groups of people and social interaction to be uncomfortable and distracting, especially if they are noisy or rowdy. Medical tests since I am an adult showed that I had very high levels of inflammation in my blood and we have gotten the inflammation down and I finally have some relief from the pain and discomfort, though I still like working alone best. I am not what you would call a socially needy person. I don’t really need or want people much, only in limited quantities and for short periods of time.”

      This is one person with ASD only. Many may be different. But, what this young man told me is borne out in medical research. ASD is often accompanied by physical and medical manifestations, a whole constellation of medical issues of which the supposed mental aspect is only one component. Especially telling is the research on inflammation associated with ASD. For example, a 2012 article in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders tested C-Reactive Protein levels in the blood of normal controls and compared it with those at various levels of ASD. C-Reactive Protein, (C-RP) is a blood test that measures inflammation. Those with ASD had much higher levels of C-RP and hence much more inflammation in their bodies than the normal controls. The more severe the ASD, the higher the C-RP and inflammation. Inflammation, of course, correlates with pain and discomfort.

      Some students with special needs need to be part of the crowd, enjoying and being empowered by lots of social interaction and collaboration. For others it is painful and distracting and counterproductive, and they need quiet and solitude much of the time, and judicious understanding one-on-one interaction and facilitation. I have a pretty good idea of what they are going to get in today’s reality and with the present trends, and it is far from what they need.

  7. Greg Austin 1 year ago1 year ago

    Schools wanting data on how well their special and general education programs are integrated should consider adding the Special Education Supports Module to their California School Climate Survey for Staff. For more information, see http://cscs.wested.org/about/projects/sesis.

  8. Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

    Interesting that the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for a SPED student is being required to sit in a hard plastic chair, in a classroom amid rows of hard plastic chairs occupied by general education students and perhaps other SPED students. When the bell rings, the students all goosestep to the next gen ed classroom to sit again in rows of hard plastic chairs. Discipline ensues if any attempt to fly over this … Read More

    Interesting that the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for a SPED student is being required to sit in a hard plastic chair, in a classroom amid rows of hard plastic chairs occupied by general education students and perhaps other SPED students. When the bell rings, the students all goosestep to the next gen ed classroom to sit again in rows of hard plastic chairs. Discipline ensues if any attempt to fly over this cuckoo’s nest. Sounds about as un-restrictive as San Quentin. On the plus side, it sounds like cheap SPED for the state and administrators.

    California SPED students lag behind much of the nation in terms of present outcomes. Could this have anything to do with the horrible staffing ratios that prevail in California relative to the national average? Wouldn’t SPED students be especially vulnerable to and hurt by the nation’s worst staffing?

    The report suggests that we add SPED training for new general ed teachers. Can we take a CA high school teacher for example? California high-school-teacher-to-pupil ratios are double the national average. So we take a CA HS math teacher who teaches six periods of math, with 35 students per period, a total of 210 math students a day. Now, in addition to dealing with 210 general ed math students a day, with, say IQ’s ranging from 80 to 160, checking their work, helping their understanding, and coming up to speed with common core, this general ed math teacher is also supposed to implement SPED interventions for the inclusive SPED math students and is supposed to collaborate with a special ed teacher. We can add the training for teachers. We all know that we won’t allow them time to use it. But we can pretend that having a student in some proximity to someone who has at some point acquired appropriate training will somehow educate the student appropriately.

    Replies

    • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

      Why not? That is what we have always done in all kinds of circumstances, from teaching English learners to the latest: art is now part of the daily curriculum instead of being taught by a specialist.

      It’s cheaper and it gets us off the hook.

      So what if those who need the services don’t get them?

      Sigh….

  9. Shannon Maher 1 year ago1 year ago

    I'm a parent with a special needs son with in the SDUSD. It is truly heartbreaking the way these special needs kids are treated and not even given an real opportunity to learn. My son is doesn't have autism, he has seizures and is intellectually challenged and we have been to 3 different schools and the same results. The aides are not properly trained or even paying attention the childs needs. You try and get … Read More

    I’m a parent with a special needs son with in the SDUSD. It is truly heartbreaking the way these special needs kids are treated and not even given an real opportunity to learn. My son is doesn’t have autism, he has seizures and is intellectually challenged and we have been to 3 different schools and the same results. The aides are not properly trained or even paying attention the childs needs. You try and get the district involved and you get stuck running circles cause they don’t ever call back or say you have to call this person or this person. My experience with the special education system is that the needs of these special kids are not thought about or put first. What is important to SDUSD special education program is lying about progress made, test scores, how they look to the district and community. They should be ashamed and held accountable but nothing ever changes.

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