Press conference: 1:30 p.m. TODAY, May 20
VIA ZOOM: email for link.

Deficient federal regulations dovetail with ill-conceived CPS special education policies to undermine education and supports for thousands of special needs students.

CHICAGO—Special education teachers will join CTU legal representatives and officers today to announce a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, as well as CPS’ Board of Education. The press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today via Zoom.

The lawsuit charges DeVos and the Department of Education with failing to provide resources and guidance for special education students. That failed federal education policy during the COVID-19 pandemic has dovetailed with ill-conceived CPS remote learning policies for special education to undermine education and supports for thousands of special needs students. Frontline special education workers will outline the challenges that federal and CPS policy has created for special needs students and the educators who support them.

CPS has directed special education teachers and case managers to rewrite approximately 70,000 IEPs and 504 plans before June 18. This physically impossible mandate is diverting teachers, case managers and clinicians into mass re-writes of plans rather than working directly through remote learning with special education students. CPS deployed these unworkable mandates while failing to follow Illinois State Board of Education mandates that school districts bargain with their unions to consensus on the terms of remote learning.

The CTU lawsuit seeks an injunction against DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing regulations that place impossible administrative burdens on students, parents and educators. The lawsuit also seeks the creation of a compensatory education fund to pay for additional services to CPS special education students because of the interruption to their education caused by DeVos’ policies.