Friday, February 20, 2015

California task force urges reform of special education funding | EdSource


California task force urges reform of special education funding | EdSource:



California task force urges reform of special education funding

Two women speak at a podium in a meeting room.
CREDIT: JANE MEREDITH ADAMS/ EDSOURCE TODAY
At the podium, Vicki Barber, left, and Maureen O'Leary Burness preview the report on special education. A sign language interpreter is at far left


Federal and state funding rates for special education would be equalized across California and new special education teachers would be authorized to teach general education if draft recommendations from a task force presented on Wednesday are implemented.
In addition, school districts would include in their new three-year planning documents, known as Local Control and Accountability Plans, details about how they are improving outcomes for special education students, according to a preview of a long-awaited report from the Statewide Special Education Task Force, a group funded by foundations to recommend transformative changes in special education in California.
“We believe the time is now,” said Vicki Barber, co-executive director of the Statewide Special Education Task Force.
A draft version of the report was presented at a meeting of the state Advisory Commission on Special Education, which provides recommendations to state legislators and education administrators. The full report will be presented to the State Board of Education in March.
The brainchild of Michael Kirst, president of the State Board of Education, and Linda Darling-Hammond, chairwoman of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the task force is thought by many to have the clout to push for changes long-sought in special education, including a far-reaching integration of special education students, teachers and programs into general education.
The effort is driven by low achievement rates of special education students, 90 percent of whom have no cognitive impairment. Speech and language impairment is the largest category of students in special education, followed by students with learning disabilities.
“This is a commitment to move forward,” said Vicki Barber, co-executive director of the task force, who presented the draft report to the California task force urges reform of special education funding | EdSource:

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