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posted: 5/13/2013 5:00 AM

Special ed proposal could hurt all students

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As a teacher in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, I'm writing to inform parents about disastrous proposed laws that will affect their students. Parents of mainstream students may have heard that the Illinois State Board of Education is proposing changes to special education laws eliminating Administrative Rule Part 226.730, but they may disregard it thinking it doesn't apply to everyone. What people may not realize is that this law impacts mainstream students equally, if not to a greater degree!

If the current special education laws in place are eliminated as proposed, it will not only eliminate the cap on class sizes in special education, it will also eliminate the limit of special education students placed into all classes, and potentially without additional support such as teachers' assistants, directly affecting everyone in the school.

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As teachers, we want to help all our students, but our hands are being tied further and further by state laws. The number of special education students with complicated legal accommodations limits a teacher's time working with students who are not identified as having special needs, despite the fact that teachers consider all our students unique with individual needs. Currently, in a classroom of 30 or more students, one teacher's ability to reach all students is already being stretched to its limits, but this change will make it nearly impossible for teachers.

All children need to be given equal opportunities to learn, but the only thing this proposed change will do equally is take away all students' rights! We need parents to fight for the rights of their students, both mainstream and special education. Parents and community members, call your legislators and tell them class size matters to you and you do not want the state to eliminate Administrative Rule Part 226.730.

Asra Syed

Chicago

Conant High School teacher

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