The problem with special education in Illinois is not over-funding or over-identification of students with special needs. Amend HB 2808.

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State Senator Andy Manar told the Gov. Rauner’s School Funding Reform Commission on January 17 that there was “drastic over-identification.”

-By Bev Johns

On the surface Illinois is engaged in a debate on how to fund Illinois schools. But Illinois House Bill 2808 includes a completely different system for special education.

Is our vision IDEA, the Federal special education law, or House Bill 2808?

Special education or RTI (MTSS)?

Disability or (temporary) differences?

Special Educators or General Educators that do it all?

Continuum of Alternative Placements or full inclusion?

Differing outcomes as individual as an IEP or one outcome for all?

Dedicated funding or funding based on general education?

Special educators or interventionists?

Under-identification or over-identification?

There are some saying students are over-identified for special education in Illinois. State Senator Andy Manar told the Gov. Rauner’s School Funding Reform Commission on January 17 that there was “drastic over-identification”. 

NO STUDY confirms that.

A January 23, 2017, study says Chicago UNDER-identifies African-American AND Hispanic students for special education.

Parents, teachers and disability rights advocates say new oversight protocols keep kids from getting services they need, while BGA analysis raises questions about Chicago Public Schools’ claims that minority students are over-identified for special ed.

HB 2808 assumes the problem is over-identification, and offers two solutions:

(1) Special ed funding based on a fixed number of GENERAL education students.

(2) Funds for Interventionists (RTI or MTSS: Response to Intervention or Multi-TieredSystem of Support).

HB 2808 now includes INTERVENTIONISTS based on the assumption that Response to Intervention (RTI) will “prevent disability” and reduce the need for pecial education.

There is ZERO evidence you can do that (see http://spedpro.org ).

Texas tried using RTI to do that, but late last year the Houston Chronicle wrote a series of articles that forced Texas to stop doing it.

But the most harmful delay tactic, according to employees, has been Response to Intervention, a new set of regular-education teaching techniques in use across the country that have been championed in Houston by Kumar.

Federal officials have approved RTI, with one caveat: Schools cannot require teachers to try RTI before requesting a kid be evaluated for special ed.

That is exactly what has happened in HISD, according to numerous current and former staffers.

“RTI was a huge roadblock,” said Renee Tappe, who retired in 2015 after 35 years in special education at HISD.

“Every now and again, it would help a kid a little bit,  but when you look at the number of kids denied, it’s not even close to being worth it.”

—————————————–

House Bill 2808 needs an Amendment to stop Special Education Personnel Reimbursement from being removed from Illinois law.

The Amendment would remove the words through fiscal year 2017 from the bill on pages 234, 235, 236 and 237.

If the Amendment is added, Illinois would continue to provide $9,000 in State funds, each year, for every special education teacher (and other specialists working full-time with students with disabilities).

Illinois would then continue to have direct and  dedicated funding for the specialized services so needed by students.

Listen to Hitting Left with the Klonsky brothers on the radio.

3 Replies to “The problem with special education in Illinois is not over-funding or over-identification of students with special needs. Amend HB 2808.”

    1. Complain to your state representatives, state senators and the Givernor. If one of your peeps is on the funding committee, even better. They need to hear from you.

  1. The best approach is an Amendment. There is general agreement that the general school funding formula needs change, although there is NO agreement that HB 2808 is actually Evidence Based.

    On February 21 and 22 call State Reps. Will Davis, Robert Pritchard, and Linda Chapa LaVia (sponsors of House Bill 2808) asking them to Amend the bill to restore Special Education Personnel Reimbursement.

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