Resolution: Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD

Whereas, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) states that “to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.;

Whereas, by the nature of their disabilities, it is not appropriate to educate some students in facilities designed for use by students in general education;

Whereas, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has facilities, referred to as Special Education Centers, that are specially designed to accommodate the needs of severely disabled students;

Whereas, the LAUSD has engaged in a policy of depopulating these Special Education Centers;

Whereas, the LAUSD is currently involved in litigation with parents who seek to keep these centers as an option during the IEP process;

Whereas, former LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy issued a press release referring to a District victory in this case “a civil rights victory for our students with special needs”;

Whereas, former LAUSD Executive Director of Special Education Sharyn Howell stated in the same press release that ”the LAUSD’s vision is for every student to be college-prepared and career-ready”;

Whereas, the LAUSD currently forces parents and guardians to sign a confidentiality agreement when settling due process cases against the district;

Whereas, confidentiality agreements prevent parents from completely exchanging information with other parents in similar circumstances;

Whereas, the District currently has a policy of having special education “experts” visit classrooms and force changes to the operation of individual classrooms;

Whereas, the District has punished teachers and other staff members for informing parents of their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Resolved, that the LAUSD recognizes that it is responsible for providing a high-quality education to all students, including those with special education needs;

Resolved, that it is the policy of the LAUSD to recognize that “to the maximum extent appropriate” is a significant and important part of the Individuals with Disabilities Act;

Resolved, that the District will allow parents to decide how the “maximum extent appropriate” applies to their child. District staff can advocate positions counter to the parent’s wishes during the IEP process but cannot force them into compliance;

Resolved, that the Special Education Centers will continue to be operated on specialized campuses and will not be co-located on general education campuses;

Resolved, that Special Education Centers will once again be offered to parents of children with disabilities during the IEP process;

Resolved, that the LAUSD formally apologizes to the parents involved in the litigation and states that the former Superintendent was not speaking for the District when he suggested that parents wished to violate their students’ civil rights;

Resolved, that the LAUSD recognizes that all students do not have the ability to move on to college. The education of these students is also important to the District; the district will provide alternative preparatory classes for those students.

Resolved, that the LAUSD values input from parents and encourages them to learn about the options in educating their students;

Resolved, that the LAUSD will discontinue the use of confidentiality agreements in resolving special education due process cases. Previously signed agreements will not be enforced;

Resolved, classroom teachers are held accountable for ensuring that students are achieving their full potential;

Resolved, classroom teachers should be given the ability to decide what methods work best in their classroom for their students and should not be forced to adopt methods suggested by District “experts”;

Resolved, that this does not preclude the District from stepping in to prevent harmful behavior or to remedy situations that endanger students;

Resolved, teachers, aids, Vice-Principals and other staff have the right to discuss all options with the parents and guardians in their school community. If their advice is counter to District policy, they must inform the parent of the District’s policy but cannot be punished in any way for expressing their own opinion.