Springfield to eliminate class size caps for special education rooms:
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) passed a proposal that would lift formal class size limitations on special education classrooms and allow all decisions on class size limits to be made at the local level. If this proposal passes, the state would no longer require smaller class sizes for special education students and would allow CPS and other districts to make their own determination about the size of self-contained rooms which now have caps in place. For example, small classes currently serving autistic children who require calmer settings could be much larger under this plan.
More information and take action here.
Larger class sizes or a longer school day?
Parents who read Eric Zorn's commentary in the Tribune on March 8 "Time for CPS Parents to Step In" will be alarmed at the consequence of the closure of 80 elementary schools - larger class sizes all round. After mandating longer hours for students, at a cost of $150 million, to quote Zorn, CPS is pushing ahead with a plan that seems equally, if not more likely to cheat children, stuffing them into classrooms swollen well above the state average size. Stating that 30 children per class is the ideal average, the CPS school utilization plan adds a plus or minus 20% to that number, which basically says that 36 children in a class is ok, but 24 is underutilized. The overall message here - parents and teachers ought to make these decisions, not administrators and politicians. Here's the article. Add your voice here: http://ilraiseyourhand.org/
PTA Advisory Meeting at CPS : Discussion topics: Social Media / new PE Initiatives "Minds in Motion"
If you have a special interest in either of these topics, you are invited to join this PTA meeting:
March 13, 2013 10:00 am - 12:00 pm at CPS, 125 S. Clark(Clark & Adams), LSC Conference Room , 5th floor (use Clark St.elevators). Contact Sandra Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on attending these monthly meetings.
CPS needs your input on Sex Ed guidelines:
Please give your input to the new CPS Sexual Health Education policy guidelines. A draft is being finalized and if you are willing to give your input please click on this link http://doodle.com/rwmediazbbg9rids to advise your availability to meet. Please complete this by end of business Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Co-ordinator: Ira Rounsaville, MSW, Student Health Specialist, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools,
773.553.3884. for more info. This is a quick and easy way to have your say in what/how Sex Ed should be implemented in our schools.
What the Chicago Teachers Union is saying:
Please remain engaged with your elected officials and make it plain and clear to them that schools should not be closed—they should be supported and fully resourced. Tell them that the full funding and proliferation of charters is ill-advised policy. Tell them that smaller class sizes are a proven school policy that promotes achievement and narrows the achievement gap. CTU's Legislative Agenda:
Charter School Full Funding (SB 2341, HB980, and HB1223) is back in cue for the 98th General Assembly session in Springfield. State Representative Dan Burke (D-Chicago) (HB980 and HB1223) and State Senator Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) (SB2341) are sponsoring the bills to allocate 95-100 percent funding for charter operations statewide. These sponsors curiously have strong ties to embattled charter operator UNO, and last year, representatives from UNO pushed this same unsuccessful legislation. The filing of these bills for UNO is an audacious move, especially in light of the ongoing investigations into the management practices of the organization and conflicts of interest uncovered by the Chicago Sun-Times.
The timing for these bills could not be worse.
Special Education: On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted to authorize public comment on proposed changes to Part 226.730 and Part 226.731 of its rules. These proposed changes would effectively lift class size restrictions on what constitutes the definition of a general education classroom, allowing local districts to decide class makeups. The Chicago Teachers Union’s 2012–2015 contract includes new language that empowers our members to advocate for special education students. We can now use the grievance procedure to resolve situations in which CPS is not providing sufficient resources or acceptable class sizes to meet federal or state regulations. Any weakening of such regulations hurts our special needs students and our ability to stand up for them. Representatives from the CTU, Access Living, Equip for Equality, Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers all testified in opposition to the rule. School management (principals, school boards, administrators) along with the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education testified in support.
A link to the State Board’s materials on this topic (including the actual proposed language changes) can be accessed at http://isbe.net/board/meetings/2013/feb/packet.pdf. The relevant section begins on page 11. The State Board rules are found in Title 23 of the Illinois Administrative Code.
The CTU asks that you call your Illinois State Representative and challenge them to become a co-sponsor of the following bills:
HB2793 Chicago Elected Representative School Board (Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago)
HB3283 Moratorium on School Closings (Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago)
HB 1554 and HR 101 Robin Hood Tax (Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago)
HB2791 Class Size (Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago)
Call your Illinois State Senator and challenge them to become a co-sponsor of the following bills:
SB2156 Limits on Standardized Testing (Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago)
SB1571 Moratorium on School Closings (Sen. William Delgado, D-Chicago)
Increasing Minimum Wage
Please call your state senators to support SB68 (Minimum Wage). We know the negative impact of poverty in the classroom, and our support of increasing the minimum wage in Illinois will go a long way in combating poverty.