CPAA Plays Key Role in Bringing Attention to Special Education Understaffing
Dear School Leaders:
I hope you've had a chance to read WBEZ's outstanding reports on the special education changes in CPS (see links below). I want to use this moment to highlight how members of CPAA have played an important role in bringing this issue to the attention of the press and the general public.
In the fall of 2016, we surveyed principals and APs about their concerns, and special education was at the top of nearly everyone's list. As a result, we conducted an investigation that led to the creation of our Delay and Deny Timeline which highlighted obstacles put in the way of school leaders seeking to get resources for students with IEPs.
In the spring of 2017, CPAA presented our Delay and Deny Timeline at a meeting of the Board of Education. Our appearance prompted WBEZ reporter Sarah Karp to submit a Freedom of Information Act request which led to an initial short report on CPS withholding special education funding from schools.
After accessing Karp's data set, CPAA conducted a more thorough analysis. We issued a preview of our findings at another Board of Education meeting this summer. Afterward, we released a series of articles describing the rampant discrimination we found in CPS' funding appeals process.
Sarah Karp continued her investigation and last week WBEZ released (see links below) Karp's remarkably thorough three-part analysis of CPS' special education defunding and understaffing scheme.
While parents and other advocates played an important role in drawing attention to this issue, it was the voices of CPAA members that prompted the initial investigatory work on this issue. These investigations have led to increased public awareness of the special education crisis in our schools and calls for the firing of CEO Forrest Claypool. Feel free to forward the link for the letter to your LSC and other parent organizations.
This work would not have happened without the support of our membership. While we still have a long way to go, I want all principals, assistant principals, and administrators to understand the role CPAA has played in this work so far, and ask you to join us in supporting this important work.