Special ed cuts create a ‘bigger mess’

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I appreciate your determination in broadcasting the plight that systemically erodes the productive lives of kids with special education needs. The facts in your article “Leaving special ed kids behind” (October 2006) raise another wave of frustration in me regarding the irrational logic of Chicago Public Schools in not supporting the needs of students with disabilities.

My bright and handsome 12-year-old son has an individualized education plan (IEP). I am constantly monitoring his school to make sure that his needs are met.

At times, provisions of his IEP are not followed because, according to educators at his school, “His needs are not as profound as the other students with IEPs.” My written inquiries usually prompt someone to spring into action.

What if I were a parent who did not or could not play an active role in my son’s education? What if I trusted CPS to do the right thing by my child? He could end up a high school dropout, as noted in a related Catalyst article.

Some parents are able to subsidize CPS’s failure to provide a well-rounded education for their children by paying for enriched after-school programs and tutors. However, many parents do not have such resources.

Is it fair for a child to attend classes all day and then spend all evening going over the same material that they did not understand to complete homework assignments?

Disabled children need extra help to be successful in school. That is why CPS needs to make specialized services a priority and not cut resources.

Too many teachers and administrators view students with IEPs as problems. But these kids are not going away and, in fact, their numbers will increase, creating an even bigger lump for CPS to sweep under a rug.

District officials think they are clearing away a problem, but in reality, they are making an even bigger mess.

Keep up the good work.

L. Hall

Parent