Fred Klonsky

– Beverley Holden Johns is an Illinois special education leader and advocate. She writes frequently for this blog.

Why is it so difficult to change the way Illinois funds special education?

Largely because special ed is different than all of the rest of elementary and secondary education. By law, the needs of an INDIVIDUAL student come first – a local school district must provide assistance in the general ed classroom, in a separate class, in a separate school, in a private school, or in a hospital or residential school depending ONLY on the individual needs of a student.

As Fred Weintraub, one of the architects of the original Federal special education law (now IDEA), stated in 2012, “This principle of building a program around a child, as opposed to fitting a child into a program, was a revolutionary departure from the traditions of general and special education in that it…

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