IFT President praises decision to table special education class size proposal
“The State Board of Education did what was right for all Illinois students today."
WESTMONT – Today, following news that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) had tabled a proposal to eliminate statewide class size protections for special education students, IFT President Dan Montgomery praised the decision in the following statement.
“I’d like to commend the Illinois State Board of Education for doing what was right for all Illinois students today. Thousands of teachers, school staff, and parents voiced their concerns, and the State Board listened. I appreciate their leadership, particularly that of Chairman Gery Chico, who listened thoughtfully, considered all sides of the issue, and made a tough decision. I am enormously proud of our members who took action and who know better than anyone that students – especially those with disabilities – suffer when classrooms are overcrowded and understaffed. We have a lot of work ahead to make sure we are providing the funding and resources our students and teachers need to succeed, but I’m encouraged to see what’s possible when we work together."
The IFT strongly opposed ISBE's plan to remove class size protections for students with disabilities which would have resulted in no statewide limits on special education class sizes, no statewide limits on the percentage of students with disabilities that can be placed in a general education class, and no state requirements that some special education class sizes require a paraprofessional be assigned to the class.
Illinois classrooms can have no more than 30% special education students in a general education classroom (known as the “70-30” rule).
You can read President Montgomery’s message to IFT members here, as well. Prior to becoming President of the Illinois Federation of Teacher, Montgomery taught high school English for nearly 20 years.
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The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.