Hometown Disability Advocacy Group Offers Goals for Duncan

By Christina A. Samuels — January 21, 2009 1 min read

Arne Duncan couldn’t have had a smoother path to his confirmation today: he was lauded by Republicans and Democrats alike for his school reform efforts.

But a disability advocacy group in Chicago, the district he led for 7 years, has a different view of Duncan’s legacy in that city. The group also has some suggestions to offer the new secretary of education as he starts in his new role.

Access Living, which represents people with disabilities of all types across the age spectrum, has had tough words for the Chicago Public Schools’ efforts with children in special education. This recent report (pdf) from the group on the district’s school budget suggests that the district has made reductions in staff, to the detriment of students with disabilities. Generally, students with disabilities in the system have results that lag far behind their typically-developing peers, the group says.

In a statement (pdf), Access Living would like to see a commitment to “school abuse” like aversive and electroshock therapies, the integration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education act with No Child Left Behind, and improved transition services for people with disabilities.

Advocacy groups are also saying that the next heads of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and the Office of Special Education Programs are vitally important. Feel free to drop any names that you may be hearing...

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.