Why Chicago Parents Want Education Reform For Special Needs Children

Grace Carr | Reporter

Parents of special needs kids are calling for Chicago Public Schools to address education reform for students with extra needs.

Christine Palmieri, the mother of an autistic boy, has been fighting Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for years and spent nearly $20,000 to try to get her boy the care and education he needs. “I’m concerned that there’s no enforcement measure in to make sure CPS follows these recommendations,” Palmieri said, according to CBS Chicago. She referred to the state’s board of education that has made recommendations and delivered guidelines for Chicago’s public schools to follow regarding team collaboration, leadership, student-teacher interaction and family.

Chicago public schools are “systemically violating these children’s civil rights by withholding, delaying, and denying,” said special education advocate and parent Terri Smith-Roback, CBS Chicago reported. “Everybody had similar stories. Kids having services that weren’t being delivered.” (RELATED: Illinois High Schools Are Completely Changing How They Teach Kids Because Test Scores Are That Bad)

“CPS is committed to uniting parents, advocates, and educators around the goal we all share, providing the highest quality education for our diverse learners,” Janice K. Jackson, the CEO at CPS, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday. “I believe some of the reforms made in prior years were done too quickly and with insufficient parent and educator involvement, and Chicago Public Schools will not make that mistake again,” she continued.

CPS has added 65 new positions in schools throughout the city, she noted. CPS has also joined with special education advocates to review reforms so they may be more effective going forward.

Ten Illinois school districts launched a competency-based learning program in January 2018 in an effort to allow students to move at their own pace so that they can fully learn lesson plans rather than having set deadlines, according to the Chicago Tribune. The program was implemented in an effort to individualize teaching and deliver better results than Illinois’ schools have thus far been able to produce. (RELATED: DC Schools Graduating More And More Chronically Absent Students)

Washington D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education also investigated the capital’s public school system in January 2018 after reports that Ballou High School graduated students who did not meet attendance requirements, and found that over 11 percent of 2017 D.C. Public Schools graduates missed more than half of all school days, according to The Washington Post.

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