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Background for the creation of the Statewide Task Force on Special Education.



Preface (current page)


  1. Early Learning
  2. Evidence-Based School and Classroom Practices
  3. Educator Preparation and Professional Learning
  4. Assessment
  5. Accountability
  6. Family and Student Engagement
  7. Special Education Financing





The Task Force

In 2013, a team of educational leaders proposed to a group of private foundations the formation of a task force to study why students with disabilities were realizing poor school and postsecondary outcomes, identify the barriers to better performance, and make recommendations for how to change the state’s system of schooling so it would better serve all students. One underlying belief the founding members of this group shared was that all students would be better served through a system that was unified in effort and coherent in vision. A second belief was that improving part of how we educate students improves education for all.

The genesis for this Task Force began with the efforts of Michael Kirst, President of the State Board of Education, and Linda Darling-Hammond, Chairwoman of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Their vision was to bring together representative California leaders who had the knowledge, experience, and foresight to grapple with current, relevant issues and determine concrete ways to change systems and improve school results for children with disabilities.

These efforts and the generous support of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, led to the formation of a Statewide Task Force on Special Education. Made up of representatives from key stakeholder groups—parents, general and special education educators, higher education professors, nonpublic schools/agencies, and charter schools as well as liaisons from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the Legislative Analyst Office, the Department of Finance, and California state legislative staff—this Task Force was charged to study exactly why special education is not more successful and what must be changed in both policy and practice to improve services for all children identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as having a disability.

This Task Force held six hearings around the state, heard from more than 200 witnesses, spent dozens of hours deliberating, received more than 500 communications, and met six additional times as a full group to formulate this report.

The state of California is indebted to the specific organizations and people acknowledged for their countless hours of work, their tireless dedication to children, their belief in the absolute importance of education, and their commitment to helping the schools in this state realize excellent results for all students.

Questions:   Special Education Division | | 916-445-4613
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 8, 2023
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