In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters. And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all.
Paloma Esquivel and Melissa Gomez at LAT:
Los Angeles Unified failed to provide appropriate education to students with disabilities during the pandemic as required under federal law and must provide extra services to help some of the most vulnerable students recover from the significant voids in their learning, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.
The investigation, conducted by the department’s Office for Civil Rights, confirms what many parents have alleged since schools were first closed — that they basically had to fend for themselves during distance learning as their children were left with little if any education and specialized assistance. The district has entered into a voluntary agreement with the federal department to fix its failings.
The investigation found that the district failed to provide services identified in students’ legally required education plans, failed to accurately or sufficiently track services, and informed staff that the district was not responsible for providing so-called “compensatory services” aimed at helping students make up for what they lost, because the district was not at fault for the campus closures.
The agreement calls for the district to offer make-up services “to remedy any educational or other deficits that result from a student with a disability not receiving the evaluations or services to which they were entitled.”...
Attorney Valerie Vanaman, who has been critical of the district’s treatment of students with disabilities throughout the pandemic, said she was happy about the agreement but continues having concerns about the district’s ability to follow through.
“This is a nice outcome to see. It gets us partway there, " she said. “Where the rubber hits the road is ‘how will they actually implement it?’”