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Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD

A proposed resolution is being circulated to the LAUSD Board that would refocus the district’s SpEd policies to make them student-centered.

Carl J. Petersen
Age of Awareness
Published in
6 min readDec 19, 2022

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The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

- Mahatma Gandhi

Helping students who have disabilities meet their full potential requires that the Special Education services they receive be customized so that their unique needs are met. A one size fits all approach will not work.

To properly develop an individualized plan, the IEP team, which includes parents, students, teachers, specialists, and school-based administrators, must be fully empowered to make decisions at the school site. Unfortunately, these local teams are often prevented from crafting appropriate plans for students due to the rigid rules set by LAUSD bureaucrats. As a result, needed programs are not made available, students are forcibly mainstreamed when it is not appropriate, and the district misses opportunities for meaningful inclusion with general education students. These pervasive failures have resulted in deep frustrations within the Special Education Community.

If “the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members,” then history will judge our school district poorly. The proposed “Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD” resolution would change this trajectory and set a path that would help all students reach their full potential.

The seating of a new school board that includes a pro-public school majority provides an opportunity to promote change in how Special Education services are distributed within the district. I am, therefore, recirculating the proposed “Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD” resolution to the board members. To build momentum for its passage I have also started a petition to Scott Schmerelson, an ally who chairs the board’s Special Education Committee. Please add your name to this petition and share it so that we can build the momentum needed for the board to act. Our most vulnerable students are depending on you.

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Carl J. Petersen
Age of Awareness

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com