Once again we need to call the members of the Illinois legislature who sit on the Join Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) regarding special education work load limits. This is an entirely different issue that state limits on class size.
This is a battle it seems we need to fight every year. A month ago we won a small victory when JCAR postponed any action for 45 days, keeping the ISBE from acting. But only temporarily.
If you are a member of IEA or IFT or the Chicago Teachers Union, let them know you favor real work load limits for special educators and for the union lobbyists to share that message with members of JCAR.
Email JCAR staff today, and call the members of JCAR on Monday.
Special education advocate, Bev Johns, tells me: “There is no agreement on regulations. Please tell JCAR members not to take any action at thier meeting on Tuesday, December 15 so further attempts can be made to come to agreement.”
JCAR staff email: JCAR@ilga.gov
MEMBERS OF JOINT COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVE RULES (JCAR)
Co-Chair–Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park, 708-848-2002
Co-Chair–Representative Ron Sandack, Downers Grove, 630-737-0504
Senator Pamela Althoff, McHenry, 815-455-6330
Senator Bill Brady, Bloomington, 309-664-4440
Senator Karen McConnaughay, West Dundee, 847-214-8245
Senator Tony Munoz, Chicago, 773-869-9050
Senator Ira Silverstein, Chicago, 773-743-5015
Representative Gregory Harris, Chicago, 773-348-3434
Representative Louis Lang, Skokie, 847-673-1131
Representative David Leitch, Peoria, 309-690-7373
Representative Andre Thapedi, Chicago, 773-873-4444
Representative Michael Tryon, Crystal Lake, 815-459-6453
Bev says, “The most damaging State special ed regulation for students and for teachers, is the lack of effective Work Load limits for special educators. ISBE has had a regulation that was supposed to be in effect six years ago, but many school districts in Illinois have no special education work load limits, or have no effective work load limits.”
Special education advocates and activists are working for the inclusion of the following language:
On line 1348, strike “Each plan” and add “Work Load limit shall be no more than twenty students receiving direct or indirect services from a special educator, unless alternative limits”
Section 226.735 Work Load for Special Educators
a) Work Load limit shall be no more than twenty students receiving direct or indirect services from a special educator, unless alternative limits shall be developed in cooperation with the entity’s affected employees and, where there is an exclusive representative, in accordance with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) [115 ILCS 5].
Work Load for special educators was supposed to be in effect in every local school district six (6) years ago, but Chicago and many other school districts in Illinois still today have NO Work Load limits for special educators.
Many schools districts have not been willing to discuss Work Load with its special educators, and there has been no incentive for them to do so as, to our knowledge, ISBE has not made any effective efforts to enforce its regulation.
To our knowledge, ISBE does not know which school districts have Work Load limits, and which school districts do not have them.
The proposed language would provide an incentive to local school districts to engage in discussion with its special educators as otherwise it would be subject to one limit for all of its special educators, which is a reasonable limit for special educators dealing with widely varying students with widely varying degrees of disability across all the disabilities included in the LBS licensure across all kinds of educational settings.