Cap Special Education caseload in California
March 19, 2022

Resolution

Whereas, the CFT believes each child deserves a free and appropriate challenging education that can only be reached through adequate and supported resources as identified in their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs); and

Whereas, through Child Find, Special Education identification is increasing the number of students with IEPS (source: California School Dashboard); and

Whereas, the California Department of Education, Section 56362(c), addresses only caseload caps of 28 students for Resource Specialists; and

Whereas, the number of teachers currently holding substandard credentials and temporary permits has increased annually at a time where the percentage of preliminary education specialist credential holders has been decreasing, oftentimes resulting in fully credentialed special educators picking up the work of developing IEPs for students who are not on their caseloads and making them responsible for a disproportionate amount of IEPs relative to their own caseloads (source: Learning Policy Institute); and

Whereas, there is critical shortage and retention of Special Education teachers and Special Education support staff in the state of California at a time when increased enrollment of students with special needs is prevalent (source: Learning Policy Institute); and

Whereas, the demographics of Special Education caseloads have changed to include a diverse range of students with identified needs ranging from mild to severe disabilities;

Therefore, be it resolved, that in order for each student to receive quality, focused Special Education services from trained and fully qualified educators and support staff, an equitable and enforced student to teacher ratio is just, with a ratio of no greater than 1:12 caseload, adjusting for core versus alternative curriculum, for Special Day Class programs, self-contained or otherwise, to include but not limited to: Autism Core, Autism Alternative Curriculum, Intellectually Disabled, Emotionally Disturbed, Severely Handicapped, etc., in order to provide the access and instruction each child requires; and

Be it finally resolved, that the CFT shall seek out coalition partners to collaboratively sponsor new legislation to the California Education Code adding caseload caps for each Special Education program and classification based on recommendations by discipline-specific professional organizations and advocacy groups, including but not limited to: American Speech and Language Association (ASHA), Council for the Education of Exceptional Children (CEEC), Autism Society, National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET), American Association of Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), and California Special Needs Advocacy (CSNA).