One plus one should equal two.
The country’s largest disability rights organization sought to confirm that over the past year in the realm of special education for a most vulnerable population.
What researchers from Disability Rights California sadly found out was this: A seemingly simple equation just doesn’t add up.
All children in California who attend a public school and have a demonstrated need for special education services are lawfully entitled to receive them. A recent article on the topic duly notes their right to “have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), documenting their educational abilities and outlining what services [they] might be eligible for.”
Many undocumented minors lacking parents or separated from them reside in California. A specific federal agency is tasked with ensuring their well-being. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) internal guidelines stipulate that children under its charge with special needs be placed in facilities as part of the “general population” and also receive appropriate educational services.
Thus, all California children are entitled to a meaningful education, with those having special needs being provided tailored services they are eligible for that optimally promote their learning potential.
That one plus one – there is an entitlement to receive special educational services, and it applies to undocumented children equally as much as to others – should result in a clear reality.
That is this: the children being housed in ORR facilities who need special ed services should be routinely receiving them.
Is that the case?
Sadly, DRC says that it isn’t. An organizational spokesperson states that research actually reveals only a few instances of ORR-housed children “receiving any kind of in-depth Individualized Education Programs.”
That is lamentable, of course, and materially concerning. Hopefully the glare emanating from the DCR report will yield fast and meaningful change.