Chicago Principals & Administrators Association

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CPAA and Community Partners Prevail: ISBE to Launch Special Education Investigation

School Leaders:

As you know, CPAA and several advocacy organizations requested the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) intervene with the CPS Special Education program. ISBE has responded with anannouncement that they’ll investigate CPS’s special education practices.

CPAA Helped Lead the Charge
Our members can be proud to know that their organization has been at the forefront of this issue long before it started making headlines. It was CPAA’s original research and appearances at the Board of Education that helped spur the developments that led to this investigation. If you are not yet a member please use this link to join and support our work.

Details of the Pending Investigation

ISBE announced at their board meeting on Wednesday that they will launch a public inquiry in response to the joint letter signed by CPAA and 10 other organizations asking ISBE to investigate CPS and their special education policies and procedures. ISBE’s goal is to present findings at their April board meeting, and they plan to put together a three-person team to lead a fact-finding investigation that will include public hearings around systemic special education practices at CPS.

Cautious Optimism

We cannot forget that ISBE is filled with Rauner appointees who may want to restrict the identification of students with special needs. As a result we need to be cautious and monitor the investigatory process. So far the signs look good. For example, ISBE has stated that one of the appointees to the three-person committee that will hear the evidence in this case will come from among the advocacy groups that signed the letter.

We are pleased that ISBE has responded to our request to investigate how the CPS’ special education procedural manual has led to numerous issues around securing special education services for students with disabilities and we will update you further once we receive the details in the formal letter from ISBE.


Troy LaRaviere