Our Partner Jennifer Smith asked an important question during the Legislative Update session yesterday at IAASE’s 2019 Fall Conference: What can Illinois special education teachers and administrators do to help ensure that the legislature makes necessary fixes to Public Act 101-0515—or as IAASE aptly calls it, “That Pesky RTI and Special Education Bill”—during the upcoming veto session. We gave you the lowdown on the demanding new law in a blog post earlier this year. As might be expected, the pending proposal to amend the law and remove requirements that were intended to apply only to Chicago Public Schools was a hot topic during yesterday’s Legislative Update. What can you do now to help fix this pesky problem?

The engaging panel discussion included insights on a number of new Illinois laws impacting special education from IAASE President Kevin Rubenstein, IAASE Legislative Committee Co-Chairs Judy Hackett and Melissa Taylor, IAASE Policy Analyst/ Governmental Specialist Shannon Bellini, and Illinois legislators Christina Castro (D), Jim Durkin (R), Linda Holmes (D), and Kathleen Willis (D).

Many participants in the audience described their serious concerns with the seemingly never-ending flow of unfunded legislative mandates impacting public schools.

One of the biggest concerns raised was with Public Act 101-0515, and during that discussion the legislators were uncertain as to whether any changes would pass during the veto session. In response, Jennifer described the many issues the law has created for schools across the State and the imperative that it be amended as soon as possible. In response to Jennifer’s question about what school administrators and educators could do to help move the amendment along, the panel was clear:

Call your Illinois Senator and Representative and tell them that it is urgent that the amendments to the law be passed as soon as possible.

On this issue and others impacting schools, school leaders and educators can call the representatives for the district where they live and vote as well as those for the school, district, or cooperative where they work, if different.

A big thanks to IAASE for another great conference and for engaging and timely panels like the Legislative Update! We in the Illinois special education law community are lucky to have such a well-attended, high-quality event for learning, inspiring, and networking.