SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In response to the recommendations released today by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in regards to Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) special education policies, state Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, is calling for aggressive legislative action to address the inequities taking place.
“I am pleased to see ISBE take this matter seriously. For too long, systemic violations of federal and state special education laws at CPS have gone unchecked,” Crespo said. “There is a pattern within CPS of denying children, especially minority children, access to quality education and a safe learning environment. The status quo is completely unacceptable.”
In 2016, CPS made changes to their special education policies which resulted in systemically denying or delaying services to children. In late 2016, over 150 parents signed a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel protesting the changes, but the violations were not addressed. It took multiple news reports and a letter from 13 advocacy organizations to prompt ISBE to begin its first ever public inquiry into a school district.
In April 2018, ISBE released a report which found CPS had systematically violated federal and state special education laws. As Chair of the House Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum and Policies Committee, Rep. Crespo has held over 12 hours of testimony on the topic in order to shed light on those systemic violations and bring about solutions to the problem. Today, ISBE released a corrective action plan for CPS, which among other things, includes an ISBE appointed monitor to ensure compliance with their plan.
“Throughout the extensive hearings I have convened on the topic, it became apparent that there was gross oversight which directly hurt our most vulnerable students and their families,” Crespo said. “During the hearings, CPS was unable to explain basic information regarding their special education services and did not have a clear and effective plan to ensure student needs were being met. It should not take years of news articles, parental complaints and legislative inquiries to provide necessary services to special education students.”
“That said I appreciate ISBE’s recommendations and believe an independent monitor of CPS is a step in the right direction,” Crespo continued. “I can assure you the committee will be closely monitoring the situation and taking legislative action to ensure CPS provides its special education students the services they are entitled to by law.”
Visit Rep Fred Crespo’s Website
245-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
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Streamwood, IL 60107
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