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Are the California special ed task force reforms achievable?

In our last post, we began a discussion about the recommendations which were recently released by a special California state task force focused on reforming special education. We noted that the task force’s recommendations report urges reform that would affect virtually every aspect of special education in California. From teacher training to increased integration into mainstream classrooms, the task force’s recommendations are comprehensive.

The broad nature of these recommendations has left many wondering whether they are achievable. According to Education Week, roughly one out of every ten American students with disabilities resides in California. The Golden State urgently needs broad reforms in order to best serve these students. However, it is questionable whether sweeping reforms can be achieved without strong commitments from all parties involved in their consideration and eventual implementation.

The chairman of the task force recently observed that, “This is the time for a major leap forward, and I think a lot of people feel strongly that this is a better time than some false starts in the past." Certainly, there are few issues more pressing than the education of the state’s children and teens. However, this fact can be too easily forgotten when alternative budgetary considerations, opposition lobbying groups and other challenging forces take attention away from the heart of the issue at hand.

At this point, it is unclear whether these reforms will be passed in part, as a whole or at all. If you feel strongly about these proposed reforms, please consider writing or calling your state representatives to express your opinions. And if possible, consider devoting some of your time to ensuring that these reforms are passed to the extent that you believe they should be.

Source: Education Week, “Overhaul Urged to Aid Special Education in California,” Christina A. Samuels, March 24, 2015

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