Chicago particular schooling monitor prolonged by Illinois schooling board
The Illinois State Board of Education this week approved another year of state oversight of the Chicago Public Schools special education program.
A state monitor has been overseeing the Chicago special education division since 2018 after a report found the Chicago Public Schools systematically delayed and denied services to students with disabilities in violation of federal and state laws. The district identified over 10,000 students who could receive compensation for lost services and over 1,000 students who will receive services.
For months, advocates of special education have asked the state to extend supervision for another year. They also advocated extending the deadline for parents to file complaints about denied or delayed services from 2016 to 2018.
A bill to extend the deadline until the fall of 2022 for parents to file complaints about missed special education passed both houses of the legislature and goes to the governor’s office.
William Hrabe, an advocate who has regularly spoken at education committee meetings, thanked the board on Wednesday for voting in favor of the extension.
Hrabe said the system that Chicago created to repair the damage inflicted on students is broken and needs to prioritize the provision of special school services to students who were harmed from 2016 to 2018.
“Our goal is to continue working with the Monitor and ISBE to identify the changes needed,” said Hrabe, an attorney at Equip for Equality, an advocacy group.
The State Monitor’s expanded oversight will cover Chicago’s Individualized Education Program, provide relief for students who missed services from 2016 to 2018, and include families. The monitor will add another priority and focus on special education teacher vacancies, especially in schools with vacancies longer than six months.
The state originally intended to monitor the district for three years – a deadline that ends this fall.
But in that timeframe, the monitor was unable to handle all of the new disruptions in the 2019-20 school year.
The Monitor’s 2020 annual report concluded that the 11-day teachers’ strike and school closings in response to the coronavirus pandemic hampered the district’s ability to complete the work needed to address deficiencies in its special education services.