It takes a village.
That adage likely rings the memory bell for most of our readers, given its use as a mantra in a recent political campaign.
One media source duly stresses its true child-centric context and origin. It notes that “an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.”
In the realm of special education, that community is necessarily defined in broad strokes. In California, it comprises legions of individuals and multiple agencies from across the state that seek to seamlessly interact in ways that optimally promote targeted children’s best interests.
That is of course easier said than done. A relevant California Department of Education website page states that nearly 775,000 individuals (“newborn through twenty-two years of age”) received special education services during the most recent fiscal year.
Any initiative/platform that large -- especially one centered on individuals with specialized learning needs – is going to test administrators’ acumen and planning prowess. It is imperative that the CDE and groups working with it consistently make best efforts and keep their mission centrally in mind.
They certainly have broad public support as they go about their work. State legislators bicker, but ultimately do the right thing via responsible budget outlays. More is always needed, of course.
Educators rightly seek to place children with special educational needs in so-called “least restrictive” environments that promote co-learning along with the generalized school population. Notably, California special ed encompasses services made available in myriad and varied settings, ranging from day care centers and preschool classrooms to community outlets and formal work environments.
Moreover, notes the above website, those services are also available in “more than a thousand nonpublic schools and agencies” spanning the state.
California’s special education bureaucracy is both complex and sprawling. Although improvement is always needed and must be consistently focused upon, the spotlight on special ed generally reveals system participants that understand the critical importance of having strong and properly evolving programs.
California parents having any questions or concerns regarding special education programs and delivery can contact a proven special ed attorney for guidance and, when necessary, strong representation in a personal legal matter.