In 2016, the Chicago Public Schools Board made changes in the policies surrounding the implementation of that district’s special education policies. The board stated at that time that the changes were needed in order to correct the low standardized test scores among special education students. The board also stated that changes needed to be made because the budget for special education services was growing too large.
The changes were implemented, but parents with students in special education programs started to notice that certain services were no longer being offered. Students that were supposed to be receiving transportation services were no longer receiving them. Educational services that were once offered were withdrawn in spite of need.
The Illinois State Board of Education decided to investigate. They found that the Chicago School Board’s reforms violated a multitude of federal regulations regarding the delivery of special education services. In light of their findings, the Illinois State Board of Education has decided to oversee the special education programs in Chicago and make sure that they are following federal and state regulations.
In order to help with oversight, the state board will appoint a special monitor. This special monitor will be appointed for three years. The monitor will assess all the changes and the procedures made by the Chicago district.
The Chicago district is opposed to state oversight, and so is the local teachers’ union. However, the state action seems to have the support of the Chicago mayor at this time.