Thank you Gov. Newsom for signing SB692 on the Least Restrictive Environment! Thank you to Senator Cortese, Senator Josh Becker and Assemblymember Robert Rivas for Co-authoring this bill. Thanks to Amanda Dickey at
Santa Clara County Office of Education for getting it through! Thank you to everyone who wrote letters and emails, especially to Larkin O'Leary who spoke at the assembly and to CalTASH for their support. This looks like a tiny difference but a huge statement. This is California saying that Inclusion Matters!! And what you can measure - you can change!
The bill adds Sections 56049 and 56049.1 to the Education Code, relating to special education. SECTION 1. Section 56049 is added to the Education Code, immediately following Section 56048, to read:
56049. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) All pupils are general education pupils first, including pupils with disabilities.
(b) Comprehensive local educational agency and school-level fiscal and programmatic planning, including planning conducted pursuant to Section 52064, must reflect the needs of all pupils, including pupils with disabilities.
(c) Inclusion in general education classrooms and programs should be considered the first setting for all pupils, unless the individualized education program for a pupil with a disability determines that another setting is more suitable to guarantee a free and appropriate public education.
(d) Data transparency and analysis are essential to understanding the needs of pupils. Local educational agencies should use all available data sources on pupils with disabilities, with a particular focus on least restrictive environment data, to inform continuous improvement efforts.
SEC. 2. Section 56049.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:
56049.1. (a) On or before November 30, 2023, the department shall publish data related to federal measures of least restrictive environment for pupils with disabilities on its internet website and shall include it as a resource on the California School Dashboard, established pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 52064.5.
(b) The data shall be disaggregated by race or ethnicity and local educational agency.
What that means is firstly we need parent like us involved in local educational agency and school-level fiscal and programmatic planning. What that means is District LCAP committees, SELPA CACs, Special Education Advisory Committees and School Site Councils.
Secondly that your district has to place LRE figures on the dashboard next year. The LRE data is already published for each district on the Special Education Annual Performance Report. Interesting Reading. Why not ask your district Board of Education to look at those figures now, not just for all students but broken down by diagnosis, by race and by neigborhood. That way we can already start the process of spotting disparity in access.