Last month, I spent a couple of weeks drilling into a recent sea change in the way San Diego Unified School District teaches children with special needs.

In the latest edition of San Diego Explained, NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia and I break down the move away from separate all-day special education classes towards a teaching method known as “inclusion,” in which children with special needs are taught in general education classrooms.

One note: The introduction to the piece says that San Diego Unified is the only district in the region doing inclusion. A more accurate description is that it is the only district that’s already phased out most separate special education classes and is now including most children with special needs.

Most, if not all, districts in the region include special needs in general education classes to some extent, but San Diego Unified stands out because it’s taken such a progressive stance in phasing out the separate classes.

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Last month, I got sidetracked from covering the special education shift by the extraordinary occurrences at the school district. After Superintendent Bill Kowba announced the district could be facing insolvency, I jumped on that story and have been covering it ever since.

Now that our illustrious education reporter, Emily Alpert, has returned from her travels, I should be able to wrap up the special education story this week. Expect some conclusions out of that reporting later this week.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at You can reach him at or 619.550.5670.

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Will Carless

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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