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URGENT: Action needed in Illinois

Posted on March 26, 2013 in Families, Inclusion, News

If you have not yet heard the news, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently passed a proposal that would lift formal class size limitations on special education classrooms and allow all decisions on class size limits to be made at the local level.

We need to FLOOD the ISBE with our comments, feedback, and protests on this one, folks. We need to respond “early and often” in the next 3 weeks and do all we can to ensure that our teachers and our students get what they need to succeed.

The impact on inclusive schooling would be tremendous if this passes. Currently, no more than 30% of a general classroom can be comprised of students with IEPS. This proposal moves to eliminate that cap and make the percentage a local decision. Due to the struggles we have had getting students into general education classrooms in the state, advocates fought hard for this 30% rule. It is now in jeopardy.

On the ARC of Illinois website, Tony Paulauski made this point to communicate the gravity of the situation:

The 70/30 rule – a guideline implemented to provide assurance of natural proportion in regular education classrooms – will be eliminated if this proposal is approved. That means that there will be no regulation on the proportion of students with IEPs to those without in the definition of general education. As a result, a classroom taught by the appropriately credentialed teachers, using general ed curriculum, but consisting of all students with IEPs could be called a general education classroom.

It is imperative that families and educators contact ISBE to weigh in on this issue. You can use e-mail (addressed to rules@isbe.net) or standard mail addressed to:

Shelley Helton
Agency Rules Coordinator, ISBE
100 North First Street S-493
Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001

You can read about the Proposed Amendments to Part 226 – (Special Education) by clicking the link and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Want to see more about this conversation? Check out the various links below and please comment on any articles you are finding as well:

Comments

  1. From RSD on 26 Mar 2013

    Hi Paula,
    I am a Resource Aide. When you say “local” on IEP cap do you mean by county/region? The Regional Superintendent would decide?

  2. From Marcie Lipsitt on 28 Mar 2013

    Paula- Please check out one of my 3 Facebook pages, The Special Education Wall of Shame. I have been posting about the proposed revisions to the IL special ed rules for 3 weeks and including links to the IL Dept. of Education and rules@isbe.net. I have written several posts about how “everyone’ has a reason to care, and that if these rules are passed there will be a special education rule revision landslide across the U.S. Feel free to email me or call me 248-514-2101 or message me on my personal Facebook page Marcie Lynn Lipsitt. Thank you for all that you do.

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