Friday, July 31, 2015

Rahm's plan: Devastating budget cuts for special ed

If Rahm thinks slashing special ed budgets is the road to solvency, he is sadly mistaken. As the grand-parent of a child at North Grand H.S. with special needs, I can promise you that CPS' plan to cut more than $42 million in special ed funding and lay off 500 special ed teachers and staff will not stand.

Teacher Phil Cantor
North Grand teacher Phil Cantor tells it straight to WBEZ:
“We had some cuts at our school, but seemed to be doing better than other schools in our area,” Cantor, who's chair of the Science Department, said. “And then we realized when we got further into the budget, we were losing $318,000 specifically for special ed services.”
 It would mean the school would have to cut about three special education teachers or six full-time aides. Cantor said there’s no way it would work. “We’re barely meeting the kids’ requirements now,” he said.
They can't say Cantor didn't warn them.
“It’s going to become more expensive when they do this because parents are going to sue,” Cantor said. “There’s going to be massive lawsuits. There’s going to be massive settlements. We’ve seen this over and over in the city. It’s this short-term managerial thinking that’s going lead to long term costs for the city.”
Take it from me. He's right on the money.


  1. Great article and comments by Phil. The banks are in effect, in control of CPS now. The issue isn't solvency as far as the banks are concerned - they want to use the financial crisis to break contracts while transferring wealth to those who'd benefit from privatization. History has shown that since the "Chicago model" was first developed at University of Chicago several decades ago, austerity and privatization have only benefited the one percent. Public service has always worsened, and as Phil correctly states, there are no cost savings. In fact, services ending up costing more. I really am at a loss as to why the citizens of Chicago gave this regime another 4 years. Lots of pain ahead.

  2. I'm glad you agree... I hope someone at CPS pays attention.

  3. i do agree, Mr. Cantor. And thanks for speaking out.

  4. I guess that CPS does not understand that SpEd is governed by federal laws that go way back. You simply cannot cut SpEd funding and expect everything to be OK. Each child has an IEP that must be followed. If anything, SpEd funding should have increased. I guess Forrest is not up to speed yet on following federal laws. We already know they can't figure out state laws or ISC decisions.

    1. The sad truth is that SPED families think someone is protecting their children's programs & IEP's from punishment by austerity. That isn't true.

      It's true SPED is governed by Fed law IDEA. However, implementation is only as good as DoEd is willing to enforce compliance & monitor due diligence. In 2011, SPED enforcement ended when Duncan defunded all of the state compliance agencies & OSEP declared it would end IEP compliance altogether & evaluate SPED only according to tests scores.

      Underlying DoEd's actions is complete abandonment of the principles of IDEA by both political parties. In 1975 the feds promised 40% funding for states to cover SPED. NEVER in the 50 years since its passage have the feds given states more than 25%. States can justify cutting critical services to SPED because there's no one assuring IEP's are in compliance with IDEA.

      Parents can go to court, but that takes years before cases are settled. The charter chains & privatizers are completely insulated from lawsuit financial hits from those decisions- the hits are felt by the local district & taxpayers.
      Hence, Rahm & his cronies will do whatever they please because Duncan, OSEP or OCR are not lifting a finger for SPED kids.

      Duncan has done more damage to SPED rights & service delivery than any other Sec of Ed in the 50 year history of IDEA.

  5. The story is the same in Newark. They are revising IEPs, disbanding LD classes and setting up Special Ed teachers to teach mainstream classes with inclusion students. Is this a national trend?

    Abigail Shure

  6. Bob Braun wrote about this in Newark-

  7. Hi Mike,
    I love your diagram of privatization at I’m a public school teacher and Mass Teachers Association grassroots organizer supporting public schools. I would like to show your diagram to the teachers in my district and wonder if it’s possible. I also love your blog and thank you for it.
    Mary Cummings


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