Special Education: What Will It Take To Make It Better?

It's no big surprise that CPS hasn't been doing right by its special education students. 

And now there's a new report about it from the state board, and a little bit of news coverage too (CPS Gets Failing Grade for Special Education Classes).  Forty percent of schools get a failing grade.  Too many kids don't have IEPs.  Some are regressing.Pretty disgusting stuff.  No wonder parents who can afford to get their kids other options pay big money to do so.  (Forty-five thou a year at Hyde Park Day School, someone told me.)

But what needs to happen for things to get better for everyone else, though?  Another court case?  Some federal action from the Obama administration, or a change to IDEA?  A scandal? A report won't in and of itself make a difference.  There are lots of other, higher-priority issues in front of the Board. But I'm sure it's not as bad in other districts as it is here, and that there are things that can be done to make the situation better.   

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  • From Rod Estvan:

    The Chicago Public Schools have the capacity to significantly improve special education services and outcomes. Access Living has recommended that the Board authorize an independent study to be made public along the lines of the National Special Education Expenditure Project

  • From Anonymous: I have 24 inclusion students spread out in three different grades-no aides.

  • More Help: And they need to put aides in the classrooms. One aide splitting time between two SPED rooms in a building is a disaster. And non-core subjects (think foreign language, high school reading) need CTT teachers too.

  • Hopeful Teacher: CPS needs to hire more special education teachers and have options for SPED students: instructional classrooms, resource rooms and inclusion (for those who can handle it). The SPED classrooms have to be smaller for students to make progress. Having 12 SPED students to one teacher at all different levels is insane. No one can do a good job under those circumstances. Cracking down on the teachers and giving them more paperwork won't cut it. Spend more time on the students.

  • http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-special-ed-findingssep28,0,6246822.story

    Chicago flunks when it comes to special ed

    Schools lack services, students lag, study says

    Why does Debbie Duskey get it wrong so much?

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