State of Illinois appoints outside monitor to oversee special education in Chicago Public Schools

May 17, 2018
State board votes to intervene after officials concluded that Chicago's 2016 overhaul of its special education program violated federal law and regulations.

The Illinois State Board of Education will appoint an outside monitor to oversee the special education program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The Chicago Tribune reports that the monitor will be in place for at least three years and will be responsible for approving any changes to the district’s special education policies and procedures.

The state board voted to intervene after officials concluded that Chicago's 2016 overhaul of special education violated federal law and regulations.

“The corrective action and recommendations we offered today are the right first step to helping CPS fully serve all children and families,” state schools Superintendent Tony Smith says. “The common good requires uncommonly good public schools.”

The state board also recommended that the district change the way it creates legally mandated education programs for special education students, and identify students who may have had their services delayed or denied because of the district policy overhaul so parents have an opportunity to pursue needed changes. 

The district had strongly opposed independent oversight of its special education program, but softened its stance earlier this week. Chicago Schools CEO Janice Jackson says the district will “do everything that we can do to right the wrongs, but also respect the process.”

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