Raise Your Hand spoke at the March 21, 2018, monthly CPS Board of Ed meeting. Our statement is below and our handouts to the BOE can be found here or below. You can find live tweets from the meeting by searching #cpsboard on Twitter or by visiting the Twitter account of Raise Your Hand Action.
Deb Hass, CPS parent and board member of RYH
RYH is very happy CPS will be sending budgets to schools in April this year, that you will return to allocating special ed positions from central office, and you won’t be commingling funds.
For a long time parents, teachers and special ed advocates have been taking time away from work and family to tell this board what a bad idea it was to commingle funds. They told about the special ed abuses their families and students faced in CPS, all the while facing dismissive remarks from this board’s leadership and former CEO Claypool.
Today is the second day of ISBE’s investigation into special ed and we’ve read through many of the documents submitted by CPS and those shared by dozens of parents, teachers and advocates who submitted over a thousand pages of testimony explaining special ed injustices across the district.
One thing we noted in the CPS documents was that paraprofesssional minutes were cut in half in the past two years from over 14 million to 7 million (14,455,830 to 7,045,666).
The CPS documents show the team working on the plan to cut services anticipated that parents, advocates and the CTU would not respond well to the changes. (See handout- page 1.)
Here’s what they wrote in the their notes for March 16, 2016 [This is all part of the public record on the ISBE site]:
“The CTU would likely be concerned that individual IEP team decisions are governed from central office, thereby softening the intent of multidisciplinary, local team decisionmaking;
Special Education Advocacy Groups would likely be concerned that the
implementation of protocols could result in a net loss of services for students with disabilities;
Parents will likely balk at the potential loss of adult support for their children.”
They were right -- these are enormous concerns.
The current head of ODLSS says in her affidavit [also part of the public record] that she was told that the consultants who helped drive the new special ed procedural manual did not generate any reports. (See handout- page 2.)
How is it possible CPS paid vendors $14M and they didn’t generate any reports? She also says these same consultants didn’t interview any special ed staff, so no interview notes are available.
Either the public was fleeced by another CPS vendor in a big way or there’s something to hide in those reports.
Either way, this board owes the many parents who came before you to raise these issues over the past year and a half an apology. You were the first line of defense for parents and failed to take their testimony seriously.