Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SpEd cuts delayed? If you don't hit it, it won't fall

At yesterday's board meeting... Parent Wendy Katten of Raise you hand says, "My son's school lost four positions, they have no change in their enrollment there. You are going to face lawsuits."

At least one Board member (Jesse Ruiz?) apparently agrees with Wendy. He mutters into a hot mic -- "Yes we will." Look for him to be called on the carpet today by Rahm's people who will remind him to "speak when we tell you to speak."

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) appeared on the parents’ behalf to offer a mild threat in language he thought the board could appreciate.
“These children need more assistance, not less,” he said, adding that “the lawsuits that will rain down” on the board by special ed parents will cost more than the cuts are projected to save.
Slick CEO Claypool is feeling the heat and moves to cover his ass. Now he's saying that CPS says it will delay the cuts until it "reevaluates every school's needs". A small victory. Shows that if you hit it hard enough, it will fall.

Cielo Muñoz, a special education teacher at Penn Elementary, described how the school security guard is now pitching in to change diapers. “Students are not getting the services they need,” she said after the board meeting. “I have three students with wheelchairs,” Munoz tells the Sun-Times. “They need diaper changes. Some of them are not verbal.”

"These teachers are going to be taken, but these students will still be there without the service," says Troy LaRaviere, principal of Blaine Elementary. LaRaviere says if the cuts go through, he will lose four Special Ed positions.
Others took their concerns to the school board today, including Special Ed teacher Sarah Chambers"My school lost a position over the summer now we are not able to cover our students' legally-required minutes," Chambers says.
Winston jukes stats. Ignores CPS's own report on SpEd needs.
CPS is juking the stats again...In justifying new cuts to special education, the head of the CPS Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services, Markay Winston, tells the Board that there are 3,000 fewer special needs kids than there were a year ago.

But Melissa Sanchez at Catalyst writes:
Winston ignored one critical fact. According to CPS's own reports, district staff typically identify, during the course of a year, about 3,000 new students who need special services. That means the number of so-called “diverse learners” typically rises by about 3,000 by the end of the school year.
“They trot out numbers like this to give the sense that the district is losing students, and having a decline in the need for services … when their own reports shows that special education enrollment jumps up about 6 percent on average during the school year,” says Pavlyn Jankov, a researcher at the Chicago Teachers Union. “It’s completely part of their framing to justify cuts, but this is just a blatant lie.”
This is part of a pattern. Rahm's crew continues to use the whitenizing of Chicago and the forced outward migration of black families as a rational for cutting services to schools and communities.

If you are parent of a special needs student, Claypool says to contact CPS if you don't think your child is getting his or her services.

Don't worry, Forrest. We will.

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown who is hot on the case, adds: "Another option would be to contact me."

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, Ald. Waguespack & Mr. Brown. Mr. Claypool, since you are now in charge of CPS, it most certainly would behoove you to know that, especially w/regard to special ed. services, federal law supercedes local & state. And it is an egregious violation of federal special ed. law to diminish and withhold services to special needs students.

    This is NOT Argentina or Chile--stop "disappearing" special ed. students! (I've heard this mantra before, told to parents, w/the haughty presumption that they are ignorant of the law, "Oh, he/she has progressed so well that he/she may go back into the general ed. classroom! Isn't that wonderful?" This--in my former district {not CPS, but suburban}--stopped after one parent brought--her lawyer to the I.E.P. meeting!).
    As Nancy Grace says, "Unleash the lawyers!" If not the ACLU, then be certain that Matt Cohen, Micki Moran or someone from Brooke Whitted's (o.b.m.) law firm will be at the ready.


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