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Bev Johns. Another attempt at raising Special Education class size.

January 10, 2014

Bev Johns is a long-time Special Education activist and advocate.

From: Beverley Holden Johns
Date: Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM
Subject: new ISBE plan to eliminate special ed class size

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) staff has a new proposal to ELIMINATE State special ed class size limits, and ELIMINATE the State 70/30 rule – the 30 percent limit on the percentage of students with an IEP that can be in a regular general ed class.

The plan will be presented to the ISBE Board at its meeting on January 22 and 23, 2014, for FINAL approval.

There will be NO hearings and NO ability to evaluate the proposal before it is presented for FINAL ISBE Board action.

The proposal would let each LOCAL school district decide on a STAFFING PLAN.

You can send your objections NO LATER THAN Monday, January 13, to rules@isbe.net

Be sure to say how having your local school district decide on a special ed STAFFING PLAN would affect you, your child, the children in your classroom, or the children you serve.

- Bev Johns

9 Comments leave one →
  1. 2old2tch permalink
    January 10, 2014 5:10 pm

    The almighty dollar speaks again, and everybody loses. Students who are placed in inappropriate settings and teachers who must teach too many needy students or compromise instruction because of students who need more attention than the classroom allows all suffer. The effects on all classrooms were obvious in my last district even when they managed to meet guidelines. Ten students in a class of 35 who had special needs could severely impact that class. My self contained classes were maxed out with students who were lost and/or disruptive in general ed classes.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    January 10, 2014 8:12 pm

    I have sent your post to District 299 Blog and the CPSObsessed Blog. Hope the parents get on this travesty of a rule change. In CPS our self-contained special education programs are so overloaded that the numbers mirror the general education class size in the suburbs.

  3. Anon permalink
    January 11, 2014 9:34 am

    Who is pulling the strings on this? Quinn? Who can stop this from taking effect? Can anyone name names? Phone numbers to call to complain?

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      January 11, 2014 9:41 am

      Please reread the post. Complaints and comments must be sent to the ISBE at the email address noted.

  4. January 11, 2014 11:07 am

    This sounds to me like a ‘least restrictive environment” problem. 70/30 rule…hire more resource teachers to go into the classrooms.

    • Anonymous permalink
      January 11, 2014 11:55 am

      The problem is that certain school systems such as CPS overload sped programs and with no limits the teachers cannot even file a union grievance. I retired from Chicago Public Schools in 2012 and I was responsible for 24 students with disabilities. Even as a veteran teacher I was unable to meet the minutes on the IEPS and the amount of meetings and written documentation was horrendous. CPS will not hire more resource teachers-why would they when they didn’t when we had limits? Our gen ed classrooms have 33+ students and if the sped population is more than the current amount of 30% there is not much a extra resource teacher can do in these overcrowded rooms-pull-out services would be much more appropriate. Our parent population generally does not show up at IEP meetings with attorneys or advocates so contentious advocacy by the sped teacher is the norm. All of this makes for a shortage of sped teachers going back at least 25 years.

      • January 11, 2014 3:18 pm

        Not only that, anon. (&, in reply to bizigal), but other, cash-poor districts (e.g., those not in the northern suburbs, some of DuPage County, etc.) are not hiring L.D. resource teachers when those they have leave or retire. Many districts are now using the aides from the self-contained classrooms to cover both their inclusion kids (that is, those pulled out from the SC class, while the teachers stay in class w/the SC kids who need to stay in SC) AND the L.D. Resource students, so they might wind up assisting (&, notice I said ASSISTING, not TEACHING) 10 or more students.
        Not only doesn’t work for the sped. students, but it’s taking attention and good instruction away from the general ed. students in these classes, as well. Any changes made as per ISBE would, of course, only make matters worse, so ALL parents need to call Gery Chico (# is in a later post, & this is the most effective) and e-mail, as well.

  5. January 11, 2014 1:49 pm

    Unfortunately, without the parents screaming for change, most likely there will be nothing. They are the ones that can really rock the boat. This is quite a problem. I am in another state and we have similar problems. There are non-complicance issues all the time simply because there are so many students and not enough sped teachers. I wish it were different and I fight for this change everyday. I know in my heart, so many students would be able to do the work with just a tad bit more 1 on 1 time.
    Thanks for posting .

  6. January 13, 2014 8:20 am

    To Whom it May Concern:

    I want to express my concern about the elimination of limits for Special Education classroom sizes as well as the 70/30 limit. I am a teacher in both co-taught and self-contained classes. Eliminating those restrictions will severely impact my ability to teach all of my students to the level they deserve. In my co-taught classes, my co-teacher and I work hard to give all of our students the attention they deserve. If the number of students with IEPs went up in our classes, then it would be more difficult, if not impossible, to work with all of these students in the regular classroom setting. Instead, I would have to pull a small group aside, essentially teaching a special education class at the same time as the regular education class which they are supposed to be in is being taught.

    In my self-contained class, having an unlimited number of students would negatively impact my students on a regular basis. They would not be able to get the small group instruction they need to comprehend the content. These students also benefit from having a smaller classroom to help them manage their behavior and act appropriately. Unlimited class sizes would also severely impact the management style of my classes which would also impact their ability to learn the material.

    Please, put our students first and leave these restrictions in place.

    Thank you for your consideration.

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