The Arc of Illinois is opposed to the proposed rulemaking by the State Board of Education that would repeal 23 Ill. Adm. Code 226.730. The proposed change would (1) eliminate the 70/30 guideline that defines a general education classroom, and (2) eliminate class size restrictions in special education classrooms.
The elimination of the 70/30 rule would leave Illinois with no regulation on the proportion of students with IEPs to those students without IEPs in the definition of “general education”. This change would allow every school district in the State to establish its own definition of general education. Accordingly, a school district could decide that a class in which 80% of the students have IEPs is a “general education” class. The Arc is a strong supporter of the LRE requirement of IDEA and the Illinois School Code and believes that eliminating the 70/30 rule would lead to widespread non-compliance with LRE in Illinois.
The Arc also opposes the elimination of special education class size restrictions. The State Board has recognized for decades that students with more significant special needs require more services and attention. There does not appear to be any sound educational rationale for eliminating class size limits other than they exceed the requirements of IDEA. We do not believe that sound educational policy should be repealed simply because the Congress did not deem it appropriate or necessary to put it in IDEA.
We strongly urge the State Board of Education to withdraw the proposed rulemaking to repeal section 226.730, and to commence an ad hoc committee of stakeholders including advocates for students and parents, parents, school management, teachers, and other special education personnel, to fully discuss and make recommendations on these issues before any rules changes are considered.
Thank you for your consideration.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423