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Los Angeles Moves to 'Mainstream' Hundreds of Students

First Illinois, now Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is the latest mainstreaming effort to make the news. The 640,000-student district plans to move hundreds of students from separate schools for students with disabilities to neighborhood schools, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

The district says it is making the move in order to comply with federal and state regulations, in addition to a 1996 consent decree that requires the district to reduce the number of students in stand-alone centers. An independent monitor overseeing Los Angeles' efforts to comply with the decree maintains a website of the latest district moves.

The plan to shift some students is getting some resistance from parents who believe their children are better served in an environment geared specifically for their needs, according to the Daily News article:

April Muñoz of Granada Hills has collected more than 1,500 signatures on petitions, which she plans to present to the school board on Tuesday, along with a request to allow the special-education centers to continue operating as they have for decades.

"Our kids are very severe, and we want them to remain in a setting where they're comfortable," said Muñoz, whose 11-year-old son, Devin, has physical and developmental handicaps. "Our kids are getting what they need. Moving them will be traumatic—not only for the kids, but for us."

That concern is similar to that expressed by some parents and educators in Illinois, which is considering changing its regulations that would have the result of placing more children receiving special education services in general education classrooms. That proposal (here's the state's rationale for this action) is slated to be voted on by the state board of education August.

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