Republicans introduce CPS 'takeover' bill in Springfield... Republicans are not pushing for (ultimately) an elected school board in Chicago!

The Republican "elected school board" bill for Chicago.It took four days between the time they announced they intended to do it and the day they finally got around to putting their ideas in legislative language. The two top leaders in Springfield have introduced a bill in the Illinois General Assembly that would allow the (governor's appointed) Illinois State Board of Education to take over Chicago's public schools, stripping the mayor of the power to appoint the members of the Board and the "Chief Executive Officer" of CPS. The bill by the Republicans is also an "elected school board" bill, with the proviso that CPS contractors and unions would be barred from supporting candidates for the Chicago Board of Education.

Despite the recent headlines, as of Friday evening, January 22, he Republican leaders in the Illinois House and Illinois Senate have not -- NOT -- introduced a bill to put Chicago's public schools into bankruptcy. The Republicans in Illinois are the minority party in both the House and Senate, despite the fact that the Governor is Bruce Rauner, a multi-millionaire Republican. The leaders of the Democratic Party in both the House (Michael Madigan) and Senate (John Cullerton) have declared that the Republic "elected school board" bill is dead on arrival.


"As promised, the Republican leaders of the Illinois House today introduced legislation to strip the mayor of his control over Chicago Pubic Schools and, eventually, elect members of the Chicago Board of Education.

"I haven't fully read the language yet But under the bill filed by Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. James Durkin, the state Board of Education, appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner could seize control of Chicago Public Schools in certain circumstances and retain control via an independent operating board until CPS no longer was 'in financial difficulty.'

A new elected board then would take control, with CPS contractors and labor groups such as the Chicago Teachers Union forbidden from donating to the campaigns of board candidates.

"The Legislature's top Democrats, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Mike Madigan, have effectively said the bill is dead on arrival. But it is worth watching.

A second promised GOP bill, to call on CPS to file for bankruptcy, has not yet to my knowledge been filed."


January 23, 2016 at 11:37 AM

By: Rod Estvan

The liquidation of special education by Claypool

A total of 227 administrative employees got layoff notices Friday. Roughly a third of those worked in jobs related to special education services. But wait CPS has a plan to get even more special education supports into schools. According to the Tribune this morning:

CPS told reporters it is "reorienting" its special education services "around a bottom-up approach, replacing the formulaic, centralized operation that had been in place with a focus on schools to keep resources in classrooms." It did not provide any further details on that effort.

No further details because the bottom up approach doesn't exist. It's every school for themselves now folks and really no where to go for support, position approvals, or anything else for students with disabilities. Maybe case mangers will get an email address to contact for any change of placement situation or a child that needs nursing serviices. That sounds like a bottom up approach all right.

Rod Estvan

January 23, 2016 at 6:09 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

State Proposals

Does anyone remember that the first group that Hitler went after were mentally and physically handicapped children? He put them into a school bus and introduced gas. He wanted to see if anyone would protest and no one did. So, he knew they wouldn't stop him.

January 26, 2016 at 6:48 AM

By: Bev Johns

Does the IEP Team make ALL the decisions?

The Federal special education law, IDEA, requires that the IEP Team make ALL the decisions about the education of a student with disabilities. These decisions are not to be made by a school principal, or by a central office CPS supervisor.

CPS appears to be in violation of IDEA by requiring ("suggesting") TRIAL placements of students with IEPs first in the general ed classroom. There is no such thing as trial placements in IDEA.

IDEA requires the Continuum of Alternative Placements depending ONLY on the individual needs of an individual student to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)for that student along the Continuum of Alternative Placements, as decided ONLY by the IEP Team.

January 26, 2016 at 10:58 AM

By: Margaret Wilson


All the basic rules and regulations regarding SPED seem to be being ignored. What happened? I can answer my own questions giving the children what they need is costing too much money.

They also seem to have forgotten that consensus does not mean majority rules. You are supposed to continue discussion until you can come up with something everyone can agree on and it does not depend on what resources are currently available. I CAN'T COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES I WAS TOLD BUT THE BOARD DOESN'T OFFER THAT!

January 27, 2016 at 12:03 PM

By: Susan Ohanian

IEP and mainstreaming

Don't look for IDEA to protect special ed students.

Our administrators used the passage of PL 94-142 as an excuse to wipe out special ed. Literally. In the name of "mainstream for all," seventh graders entered our school with no records; all students had a full academic load.

The only concession was that, operating on a six day schedule, some kids came out of academic English to what was then called remedial reading for three days. So regular students got "Old Man and the Sea" for six days; kids formerly in special ed got it for three days.

In remedial reading, some kids had great difficulty addressing an envelope, using a phonebook, and so on. The social studies teacher was anxious for me to help them write essays on the difference between Communism and Democracy.

Actually, the other reading teacher and I came up with a solution the administrators accepted. I wrote a book about this: "Caught in the Middle: Nonstandard Kids and a Killing Curriculum."

Please excuse the Amazon link but it's the one place where you can read an excerpt.

In 1990, Phi Delta Kappan published my article "P. L. 94-142: Mainstream or Quicksand?" recounting my experiences of what happens when the very specific and individual needs of students are ignored.

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