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ISBE 2020-21 Special Education guidance opens the door to change in practice

On June 30, ISBE released a new guidance document regarding special education in the 2020-21 school year. This supplemental guidance does not provide any additional waiver or flexibility from compliance with federal and state laws related to special education. 


However, the new document states that class size protections for special education must be followed only “to the extent practicable.” Also troubling is that ISBE is now promoting the teacher input section(s) of the Deviation Application as an optional part of the district application form. In the past, teacher input was not highlighted as optional, and districts sought input from educators who worked with affected students when seeking a change under the rules, including in class size.


The IFT is monitoring this situation closely, as we have serious concerns that districts may now deviate from standard practice and forego including this critical, confidential teacher input during the deviation approval process.


We strongly recommend that IFT members who work with affected students understand the statewide protections in place for special education students and know how to work through their union to file a complaint if the need arises. Read these IFT “Know Your Rights” documents to learn more:


Questions? Contact your local or council president. 

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