Legislative News

  • Friday, November 27, 2015 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, the U.S. House voted to go to Conference Committee with the U.S. Senate on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA  - which used to be called No Child Left Behind) to write a final version of the legislation. 

    On November 5, 2015, the Executive Board of the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children voted to oppose the Pay for Success permissive funding that is in both the House Bill (H.R. 5) and in the Senate Bill (S. 1177) to allow the use of Federal funds by States and by local school districts for Pay for Success. 

    In Chicago and in Utah, Pay for Success pays investors Goldman Sachs and the Pritzker Family  for each child NOT identified as needing special education. Utah claims a 99% success rate.

    • This program creates a disincentive for schools to identify students that need specialized and individualized education. It is a violation of the Federal special education law, IDEA, that mandates schools identify all students in need of special education.

    • Pay for Success funding is more like a high interest (to 100% or more) loan than a bond.

    • Through this program private investors are paid EACH YEAR if students are not identified as needing special education. It commits school funds to paying private investors for NOT having to provide special education services in the future.

    • The annual pay back to investors (escrow payments as well as yearly payments for each student not identified as needing special education services) is exorbitant. As structured in Chicago and Utah, investors would make money, possibly doubling their investment in Pay for Success, forcing schools to use an increasingly large percentage of future local, State and Federal money it receives to provide services to do just the opposite, NOT provide services to students.

    There are no objective ways of determining which students may be in need of special education in the future and thus eligible to participate in Pay for Success. 

    What can YOU do?
    (1) Share this email. Most people are not aware of Pay for Success.
    Most people (even in D.C.) are not aware Pay for Success is in both
    the House and Senate ESEA bills, and will be in the FINAL ESEA
    bill unless a determined effort is made to remove it.
    (2) Contact any National organization to which you belong.
    Ask them what they are doing about Pay for Success in ESEA.
    Ask them if they know what is happening in Utah and in Chicago
    on paying investors in Pay for Success for each child NOT identified
    for special education.
    Ask them is they are aware that Utah claims it is stopping 99 percent
    of children at risk of being identified as needing special education
    from actually entering special education.
    (3) Call U.S. Senators from Illinois Richard Durbin ( 202.224.2152202.224.2152 202.224.2152202.224.2152    202.224.2152202.224.2152 202.224.2152202.224.2152    ) 
    and Mark Kirk ( 202-224-2854202-224-2854 202-224-2854202-224-2854    202-224-2854202-224-2854 202-224-2854202-224-2854    ) and your U.S. Representative. 
    Ask them to help you get Pay for Success removed from ESEA 
    in the Conference Committee on S. 1177.
    (4) Share this message with friends/relatives in other States.

    Our Senator, Mark Kirk, is a member of ESEA Conference Committee -
    Ask Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk to make a motion in Conference Committee to remove Pay for Success from S. 1177. Contact Kirk immediately  at 
    or by calling (call no later than Thursday morning)  202-224-2854202-224-2854 202-224-2854202-224-2854  .

    Pay for Success is being used in Chicago to pay Goldman Sachs
    and the Pritzkers $9,100 for each child NOT being identified for
    special education.   S. 1177 would allow the use of Federal funds
    for Pay for Success. Please REMOVE that provision.  Parents and 
    children do NOT need anyone making it more difficult to get needed 
    special ed services. 

    Bev Johns, Chair
    Governmental Relations Committee
    Illinois Council for Exceptional Children (Illinois CEC)

  • Sunday, October 18, 2015 10:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Special education advocate Bev Johns has written here warning about the impact of Social Impact Bonds on special education services.

    What are Social Impact Bonds (SIBs)?

    They have become a favorite privatization tool of corporate Democrats and others.

    Wall Street loves them.

    Also known as Pay for Success programs in which Wall Street investors, often using funding from private philanthropies, invest in social programs which once were funded directly by the government. The aim is to reduce government costs by offering profits to Wall Street.

    The profit increases for investors when schools reduce the number of students who receive special education services:

    When it comes to special education programs and SIBs, success is quantified by counting how many special needs students are moved out of the programs and how many have services removed or denied.

    It is just the opposite of what we have fought in favor of for decades. For those of us who have taught Special Needs students, either as general education teachers, special subject teachers or special education teachers, we look at success as meaning accurately identifying the needs of individual students, providing evidence for those needs, and getting service and support to those students. We never considered that if we determined there was a continuing need to provide services to a student it meant we failed.

    We don’t look at special education students in the aggregate. That is the opposite of the essence of the IEP, the Individualized Educational Program.

    To make matters worse, SIBS have been included in the reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB.

    The Senate reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (ESEA) includes an amendment by Senator Orrin Hatch that rewards investors in bonds if schools reduce special education enrollments.

    We need to let every national organization that we belong to know that we oppose the concept of paying Goldman Sachs and other investors for every child that avoids special education (what Sen. Hatch calls Pay-for-Success).

  • Thursday, January 29, 2015 3:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    In a departure of past practices reaching back 
    at least three decades, elementary and secondary 
    education policy will be guided by three committees 
    rather than the single House Elementary and Secondary 
    Education Committee that [State Rep. Linda] Chapa 
    LaVia so ably chaired in recent years.

    No one is a greater champion  of charter schools than our new Gov. Bruce Rauner. Also, charters now have their own committee - the Elementary and Secondary Education: Charter School Policy Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives.
    ....the committee may be either a positive or a negative from the charter advocates' standpoint. When you look over the list of Democrats who are members (Republican's aren't yet appointed), you see critics of the charter movement in leadership positions and public school advocates up and down the line.
    The charter agenda this year is sure to include: (1) lifting or removing the statutory limits on the number of charters that can be authorized in the state; (2) boosting the funds received by charters from the school districts where they operate; and (3) fending off efforts to dissolve the Illinois State Charter School Commission.
    The Commission was created in haste when the state was competing for federal "Race To The Top" funding. It's members are appointed by the State Board of Education from a list of candidates submitted by the governor. It has the authority to put a charter school in your town - even if your elected school board has turned the charter down.
    That's right. Local control means nothing in Illinois when it comes to the ability of a commission that was appointed by a board that was appointed to trump the collective wisdom of a locally elected board of education. And Rauner, the state's number-one fan of charters, now gets to appoint a majority of the SBE.
    But back to the House committee, the chair is Rep. Esther Golar of Chicago, a former CPS Local School Council member and ardent advocate of "neighborhood" schools. The vice chair is Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia of Aurora, who did her best last year, as House committee chair, to dissolve the Charter School Commission.
    There's Rep. Deborah Conroy, former school board member from Villa Park; Rep. Camille Lilly of Chicago, a community activist on several fronts; Michelle Mussman, a PTA leader from Schaumburg; Rep. Sue Sherer, a public school teacher from Decatur; Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, a former school board member from Westchester; and Rep. Kathleen Willis of Northlake, former Addison elementary school board member.
    The next largest is the Elementary and Secondary Education: Licensing Oversight Committee, which is to be chaired by Rep. Emily McAsey of Romeoville (former middle school teacher), with Rep. Robert Martwick of Chicago as vice chair. Chapa LaVia is a member of this committee, as is Rep. Dan Burke of Chicago, a thoughtful and gracious proponent of increased charter school funding.
    Rounding out the Democratic membership of the licensing oversight panel are Rep. Monique Davis of Chicago, a veteran legislator and former CPS teacher; Rep. Scott Drury, a lawyer of Highwood and author of some thought-provoking bills; and Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin, former officer of an elementary school PTO.
    The Republican caucus will probably put four members on this committee.
    Finally, the other new committee is the Elementary and Secondary Education: Curriculum & School Policies Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Rita Mayfield of Waukegan (former Waukegan School Board member) with Rep. Sherer as vice chair. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie is also on the committee.
    When you think about it, the scope of this committee's mission will be pretty large for it to have just three members. 

    Curriculum is a narrow enough concept, but it is hugely important. 

    "School policies" is about as wide as a mission can be. 

    It would cover everything a local school board is authorized (or not) to do.
    The presence of Rep. Currie on this committee is also curious. She is second only to Speaker Michael Madigan in House leadership. For many years, she has sponsored the most complicated and emotionally charged controversial bills in every legislative session. Her expertise seems to know no limits, much like her eloquence.
    Still, Currie is no stranger to School Code policy. It was under her sponsorship and guidance, for example, that Illinois first began to develop high quality early childhood education programs back in 1985.
    Jim Broadway, Illinois School News Service, January 29, 2015

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Professionals in Learning Disabilities and Special Education is a not-for-profit organization offering continuing education programs to inform members of current instructional practices, assessment, and policy issues in the field of learning disabilities.  PLD/SE also offers a referral service to the community, providing qualified professionals for diagnostics and remediation.  PLD/SE provides programs as a service to its members.  PLD/SE does not endorse any specific program, speaker, instructional materials, method, treatment, or evaluation center for children with disabilities.  

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