August 24, 2018
Contact: Bridget Hayman, 312-640-2129
Access Living Applauds New State Law Supporting CPS Students with Disabilities
SB454 Increases Parental Involvement
With Governor Rauner’s signature of SB 454 this week, the needs of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students with disabilities will be better met.
The new law gets parents more directly involved in CPS’ special education processes by requiring that parents of students with disabilities get a copy of their child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) in advance of meeting with the school about it, that they are aware of data that may be collected to design the plan, and that parents are informed of what services their child is supposed to receive as part of their educational plan.
The advance notice will strengthen parental involvement and give students’ educational teams much needed authority to develop plans. Importantly, the new law also allows for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to set up a complaint hotline for people to report complaints regarding CPS’ special education services.
“This law is a victory for students, parents, and disability advocates but just one step in making education within CPS truly accessible to students with disabilities,” said Marca Bristo, CEO of Access Living, a disability service and advocacy organization. “This law will help to keep CPS accountable for the needs of students with disabilities, which for too long have been horribly neglected.”
Other proponents of the bill include the Legal Council, Raise Your Hand, Equip for Equality, and Parents 4 Teachers.
After a spring investigation of CPS special ed procedures, protocols, and services, ISBE concluded that some CPS violated the federal laws protecting disabled student’s education. ISBE has hired a monitor to ensure that CPS eliminates the barriers to federal and state compliance. The new law complements that effort.
Established in 1980, Access Living is a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully–engaged and self–directed lives. Nationally recognized as a leading force in the disability advocacy community, Access Living challenges stereotypes, protects civil rights and champions social reform.