FIGHTING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION
A History Of Silencing Parents
The controversy over the selection of members of the Special Education advisory committee highlights a system that abhors genuine feedback.
“Parent involvement is more of a ‘doing to,’ while engagement is a ‘doing with.’”
– Larry Ferlazzo
With the approval of the Community Advisory Committee’s Membership delayed following complaints about the way LAUSD bureaucrats selected the candidates, this state-mandated committee cannot possibly achieve a quorum. Despite the situation being the fault of the staff at Students, Families, and Community Engagement (SFaCE), these bureaucrats have used the lack of quorum as an excuse to ignore requests from the committee’s leadership team to hold a meeting with the remaining members. Without this meeting, an Admissions Committee cannot be held, which is needed to resolve the impasse.
While this group of parents has been forced into silence, Scott Schmerelson’s Board-level Special Education Committee was able to hold its first meeting of the year on September 6, 2023. I arranged the following comments to be read to the membership of this committee during the public comment portion of the meeting:
The Special Education Committee provides an important opportunity for the community to interact with those in the LAUSD responsible for providing services to our most vulnerable students. I encourage each and every one of you to actively participate and to question speakers when information is presented that conflicts with what you have experienced. These meetings should be a two-way street where information flows both ways.
Another essential way for this community to provide feedback is through the Community Advisory Committee, often referred to as the CAC. This is one of three parent Committees whose existence is mandated by the California Ed code. This committee is charged with advising the Board on the creation of the SELPA and to advocate on behalf of the Special Education community.
By law, the members of the CAC are supposed to be selected “by their peers.” To…