ERIC Number: EJ829729
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Case in Point: A Question Revisited a Special Education Lawsuit--Catalyst for Positive Systemic Change?
Riley, David P.
Journal of Special Education Leadership, v21 n2 p94-95 Sep 2008
Five years ago, the "Journal of Special Education Leadership" (JSEL) dedicated a special issue to "Critical Issues in Urban Special Education" and offered insights into the challenges of special education leadership in urban school districts. These perspectives focused on access to the curriculum, school-wide behavior supports, disproportionality, funding, and teacher preparation. In her "CASE in Point" piece for the issue, Ms. Gayle Amos, officer for Special Education and Student Support Services in the Baltimore City Public Schools, reflected on the pluses and minuses of the "Vaughn G." class-action lawsuit. Ms. Amos's piece questioned whether such a lawsuit, the negotiated and multiple plans to achieve compliance, oversight of a court-appointed monitor, and the significant expense in lawyers' and consultant fees, would be a positive catalyst--a "driving force"--for change. The current issue of JSEL reports on the impact of another class-action lawsuit, "Chanda Smith v. Los Angeles Unified School District" (LAUSD). In this case, the school district has been under federal court oversight since 1996, and an independent monitor was court appointed in 2003 to determine whether LAUSD meets the outcome standards negotiated between the school district and the plaintiffs as delineated in the modified consent decree. This article presents the processes, progress, and lessons learned from Los Angeles as the school district, plaintiffs, and independent monitor have worked independently and collaboratively to understand how parent engagement and satisfaction might be improved, the efficacy of service delivery could be assessed, and out-of-school suspensions and disproportionality reduced.
Descriptors: Urban Schools, Suspension, Disproportionate Representation, School Districts, Educational Change, Lawyers, Special Education, Disabilities, Instructional Leadership, Teacher Education, Court Litigation, Federal Legislation
Council of Administrators of Special Education. Fort Valley State University, 1005 State University Drive, Fort Valley, GA 31030. Tel: 478-825-7667; Fax: 478-825-7811; Web site: http://www.casecec.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Maryland
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act