A funding system rooted in Equity
Every student with disabilities should receive ample and equitable funding sufficient to meet their individual learning needs. The special education funding system must be designed so that the size of a local education agency (LEA) or their ability to access local enrichment levies doesn’t impact their ability to provide an education that meets the unique needs of the students.
- Establish a state funding system for students with disabilities that accounts for the full costs to local education agencies of providing an educational experience that meets student need.
- Provide local education agency and school level funding and expenditure data in an accessible and transparent way to better understand how policies translate into practice.
- Support the use of the Safety Net Program for reimbursing relevant student transportation costs.
Supporting Students and Families
Students must be supported through their strengths and abilities to help them reach their potential. System capacity should be improved to better identify and provide appropriate individualized support for all students with disabilities in a setting that meets their unique educational and social-emotional needs.
- Improve the design and resourcing of our special education system so that every student receives the appropriate level of mental health supports outlined in their IEP.
- Ensure that local education agencies have access to the personnel and other resources identified in a student’s IEP including reliable access to physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, nurses, mental health counselors, interpreters, and other professionals.
- Provide the resources and develop accountability measures to ensure families have access to interpreters in their home language to enable meaningful family engagement and two-way communication with school staff.
- Improve training and technical assistance for how students with disabilities are identified so that a student’s race/ethnicity, English proficiency, or economic status do not interfere with accurate diagnosis or accessing appropriate supports and instruction.
- Disaggregate and present all data in a way that makes it understandable and accessible to all families, including those whose home language is other than English.
- Improve transitions to postsecondary education and employment for students with disabilities to be outcome-oriented, anchored in person-centered planning and self-determination, and inclusive of active student involvement, family engagement, agency collaboration and cooperative implementation of transition activities.
Growing Knowledge and Understanding of School Staff
Fostering growth in the skills and understanding of K-12 staff is crucial to better serving students, especially students with disabilities. This includes improving how schools, local education agencies, educational service districts, and the state work with each other to make sure that all elements are building off one another to improve the educational experience of students with disabilities.
- Build technical knowledge and capacity of current general and special education staff to reduce barriers to learning and accommodate individualized learning by investing in professional development in universal design for learning
- Build future capacity by requiring teacher prep programs to embed the three principles of universal design in their general education programs:
- Multiple means of representation – give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge
- Multiple means of expression – provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know
- Multiple means of engagement – tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation
- Build schoolwide capacity for inclusive learning by offering technical support and resources from the state to evaluate accessibility of spaces, as well as teaching and communication methods, education materials, curriculum (general and special education) and support services.