The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Attack on Special Education in Chicago

Sep 19, 2016

Chicago Public Schools insidiously cut Special Education Services by putting up all kinds of obstacles for students getting what they need. These are the services that go to the most vulnerable children, the ones who need extra help learning or simply being safe.

Middle managers now sit in on the meetings that determine whether students will get services. They act as obstacles to students getting help, like having an aide, or getting transportation.

Parents used to be able to let their non-Special Ed children ride the Special Education bus, if they had a student in Special Education. That let siblings help each other and stick together. But this is no longer allowed without parents filling out a lot of paperwork. So the brother or sister of a Special Ed student can’t get on the bus, even though it stops at their house and goes to their school!

Between the middle managers and this new rule, schools specializing in Special Education have seen the number of buses serving their students cut. Christopher Elementary, a south side school with a large Special Education program, went from 34 bus routes last year to 23 this year.

They’ve also increased the amount of paperwork a parent has to fill out to get a student into Special Education at all – another way to keep students from getting services. And it used to be straightforward for many Special Education students to continue their programs over the summer. But added paperwork this past year has dropped the number of students who get into summer programs.

On top of this, aides working with Special Education students are now required to fill out paperwork to account for every 15 minutes of their work day, so they spend their time filling out forms instead of helping students.

The attack on Special Education is part of a bigger attack on public schooling. Politicians all over the country want to spend less on public education for the working class, to free up more money to hand over to the rich – even when that means attacking the most vulnerable kids.