Monday, June 29, 2009

ISBE helps SpecEd Parents

The new Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Parent's Guide explaining, in plain language, special education in Illinois has been published online. Hard copies are not yet available. Here is the link:

Every parent of a student in Special Education in an Illinois school should have this (and I haven't even read it yet).

Don't count on getting information about it from your school district. It may be as rare as a block of ice on a hot July day. A few years ago there was a terrific ten-page Memo issued by the Special Education Division of ISBE that outlined what school districts must do for students in Special Education. A strong suggestion in the Memo was that the Memo should be disseminated to all parents of students in Special Education.

Was it?

That Memo had to be one of the best-kept secrets in the State of Illinois. About nine months after it was published, I learned of it through a parent support group in Rockford. The District 200 Superintendent didn't know about it. I could understand that the Superintendent might not have known about it, but I have never believed that the Special Education Department didn't know about it. And even after I brought it to their attention, information about it was never distributed to the parents of the then-900 students in Special Education.

Why not? My answer is, it's better for parents to be kept in the dark about the full range of services to which their children in Special Education are entitled.

But that's changing. parents are learning what the schools must do.

The interesting part is, if schools did more of what they are supposed to do (by law), their costs would probably go down!

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