PSAT for 1-14-14: Say no to special education class size increases

psat_logoAt their January 22-23 meeting in Springfield, the Illinois State Board of Education will vote on a proposal to lift class size caps on special education classes and on the percentage of special education students that can be served in regular education classrooms.

ISBE claims that removing this critical protection for special needs students is necessary to help districts balance their budgets and to make local determinations about the best way to serve the children.

Here’s what I sent to ISBE last April:

Parents United for Responsible Education opposes the proposed rules changes to eliminate class size caps for special education programs and the percentages of special education students allowed in a regular classroom.

The fact that districts like Chicago have consistently failed to meet these standards and are now crying poor is no excuse for the state board of education to promote a complete disregard for the educational needs of our most vulnerable students.

If school districts are unable to meet these standards, they must either cut back on expensive and generally ineffective programs such as charter school expansion and ever-increasing testing and test preparation, raise revenues, or do both. To propose rules changes that allow districts to balance their budgets on the backs of disabled students is shameful.

The official public comment period for this issue is closed, but it’s not too late to reach out to the state board members with your concerns.

Please send a message today to, who is the contact person designated to share e-mail messages with ISBE members, or via fax to 217-785-3972.


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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.