State of Illinois takes control of CPS special ed services. Rahm must go.

Forrest Claypool.

In 2017 I posted about the dirty dealings between Forrest Claypool, Rahm’s hand-picked choice to head CPS, and policies that directly led to a reduction and delay in special education services.

The City Council Progressive Reform Caucus on Thursday demanded Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool testify before the City Council Education Committee after a WBEZ investigative report found CPS leadership had implemented secret plans to reduce programs and support for special needs students.

“The report revealed what many CPS parents have long suspected–that likely in violation of state and federal law, CPS redirected funds intended for students with special needs, and significantly reduced the programs and specialized supportive services for special education,” said Progressive Caucus Chair Ald. Scott Waguespack (32). “These disturbing revelations deepen our already grave concerns about Mr. Claypool’s leadership.”

The Illinois State Board of Education is now considering action that would take control of special education services away from CPS.

If ISBE takes this action Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s schools team and CPS special education programs would fall under state control as the mayor pursues re-election.

Many of us who support special education reforms applaud the conclusions of the ISBE  investigation into CPS delays and denial of services. Finally.

Troy LaRaviere, President of the Chicago Principal’s Association and mayoral candidate has been talking about this for years.

Lori Lightfoot, who announced for mayor this week, needs to make Rahm’s control of CPS and Forrest Claypool’s stinky contractual relationships – the scandal around special education services – an issue as well.

Paul Vallas’ ties to the SUPES kickback scandal make anything he has to say moot.

Mayoral politics aside, the real victims here have been Chicago students with special needs.

ISBE launched a sweeping investigation of CPS special education practices last year and found a 2016 district policy overhaul delayed and denied services to students.

In a statement, (current) CPS CEO Janice Jackson repeated her view that the district moved too quickly in implementing the special ed changes.

Too quickly?

No way.

This is all about corruption at CPS and pay-to-play.

And another reason Rahm must go.


7 thoughts on “State of Illinois takes control of CPS special ed services. Rahm must go.

  1. 52,000 special ed students @ 1 hour per week of one-on-one instruction at, say, $40 per hour with benefits > $2 million per week. 10 hours per week takes the cost to $20 million per week. What part of my math is wrong? What other expenses can CPS cut to free up funds to pay the cost of a righteous program? Or if the State takes it over, where does that fit into its unbalanced budget? I assume special ed teachers are highly trained and deserve at least $48,000 per year before tax for 1200 hours worked. Or $64,000 per year if they work 1600 hours per year including prep time. If 20% of their pay is deferred to pay for benefits, that cuts the $64K back to a mere $50K or so. That’s about $1000 a week before tax to live on in an expensive urban area. Perhaps this is so critical that we should ignore the math on the principle that those who are poor and of color are legally entitled to that much or more. Not a contract right, mind you, but probably just as important as teachers’ pensions. It is a vexing and non-trivial problem — as are homelessness, mental illness, poverty and hunger. Can taxpayers afford it and will they pay for it?

  2. I started a reply and hit the wrong key so it probably didn’t go through. I will try again. This is not a taunt, but a request for information which you would have and I do not:
    1) What number of hours per week is realistic for special education and is that all year long or summers excluded?
    2) Is $40 per hour gross (inclusive of benefit costs) realistic or low or high?
    3) Would the teacher hours worked per year be 1200, 1600 or some other figure?
    4) Is $2 million or $20 million per week closer to the true cost?
    5) Are trained educators available to staff this program and how long would it take to get it up and running?
    6) Could Chicago taxpayers only cover the cost or would it be a state-wide tax burden?
    7) Who is “wealthy?” Adjusted gross income $100K, higher or lower?
    8) Is retirement income (public and private sectors) taxed?
    9) Should 401(k) and similar accumulations be taxed above a certain level? And is that level $500K (higher or lower).
    10) Should businesses above a certain revenue level be taxed?
    11) Besides staff and supplies are any new facilities required? Any other costs besides facilities, teachers and supplies?
    12) Are the standards for deciding who needs special ed established and generally agreed?
    13) Are there agreed metrics to evaluate whether the program is working?
    14) How long should the program be continued if the metrics show that it is or isn’t working?
    15) Should responsible stewards of public resources be asking questions like these before deciding to fund or underwrite a special ed program?

      1. I thought that after looking at so much data, you’d be a veritable fount of information. No doubt your readers will furnish the answers.

      2. Laughing. I’m a fount of information alright. But that is some list. And I haven’t done homework assignments since college.

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