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You did it

1/21/2014

Dear IFT members,

The IFT received word this morning that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has tabled its latest proposal to eliminate statewide special education class size limits. Your advocacy and activism made all the difference.

IFT members sent thousands of emails to policy makers during the last week to send a strong message that big classes are a big mistake for our students, parents, teachers and PSRPs. Thousands more of you spread the message on social media to your friends and family to ask them to help stop this harmful plan in its tracks, and it worked.

The media heard the message loud and clear, too. Across the state, reporters described how the ISBE proposal would hurt kids and education, and they highlighted your incredible efforts to stop it. The Chicago Sun-Times highlighted this important class size data:

The U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences, has found class-size reduction to be one of four, evidence-based reforms proven to increase student achievement, while other studies have shown students in smaller classes in early grades do better in every measure from higher test scores to better grades and improved attendance.

 Your message even carried across the country. One Washington Post reporter wrote about our effort and questioned:

Do class sizes matter? Many school reformers like to say they don’t, but they aren’t the ones who are teaching a class of 40 kids with different needs. Of course class sizes matter. It’s silly to think they don’t. With special education students — who need even more help than regular education students do — it matters even more. Without support staff to help, eliminating class sizes is nothing short of outrageous.

The IFT will continue to closely monitor this issue and keep you posted.

 As an educator, a parent, and your union president, I am so proud to say that our members made this happen. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do. You truly DO make a difference every day.

In solidarity,

Dan Montgomery

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