Catalyst’s story on the firing of special education teacher Chantelle Allen at Perspectives Calumet Tech charter school drew a sharp response from three of the four teachers who co-signed Allen’s letter charging special education service shortages at the school. The three teachers say they were misled, and believed that the letter to state education officials would be used for internal discussions only. All three teachers also note that they were not pressured by Perspectives executives to pen their response letter.
Below is the letter that Perspectives officials sent to ISBE's Special Education Department:
December 9, 2009
Ms. Marcia Kelley
Special Education Department
Illinois State Board of Education
1 N. 1st Street
Springfield, IL 62777
Dear Ms. Kelley:
This regards the letter you received on November 21, 2009, which contained the signatures of several of the staff of Perspectives Calumet High School of Technology. We the undersigned would like to set the record straight on the origins of the contents of this letter.
The points in the letter were compiled to facilitate an internal discussion with our school leaders. The letter was posted to you by Ms. Chantelle Allen, who was dismissed from Perspectives on November 20. She misled us into believing that our signatures would only be used to garner support for an internal discussion. By no means did we intend that the letter be addressed to the ISBE, or shared with the media. As such, we feel betrayed by having been caught up in what are clearly Ms. Allen’s retaliatory measures against Perspectives.
Since the letter came to light, we have in fact had the internal discussion that was intended all along. We received much better insight and context from our management, which we are confident will be shared with you in your upcoming audit of our Special Ed program.