Updated: June 22, 2013 6:22AM
With respect to Monday’s story about excessive public employee overtime: Keep in mind that overtime is not as bad as it sounds. First, God bless the poor souls who choose work over family, for whatever reason.
And second, overtime has absolutely no pension liability attached. Would the Sun-Times rather hire $2 million worth of additional police officers?
J.D. Marciniak, Plainfield
On Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education will decide whether to approve the largest set of school actions ever. It likely will create a “perfect storm” in which students of color with special needs will be the most affected.
The impact of the school actions (including closures) will be felt in different ways by more than 6,400 students with special needs; 2,331 of these students are enrolled in the closing schools and are disproportionately African American.
The actions will require a close look at thousands of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to ensure that school actions do not violate the provision of services established for each student.
This is a titanic task because services are provided on an individual basis as mandated by the Individual with Disabilities Education Act.
Many of the students of color with special needs affected by the school actions are included in the general education classroom.
Inclusion is a complex and time-consuming process that demands trust and relationship-building among school professionals, parents and students. Those efforts will be set back as students with special needs move to new school communities with overcrowded classrooms.
Students with special needs are at a higher risk to be the victims of, and participants in, acts of violence as they move to new communities. CPS’ proposed safety plans were criticized by hearing officers for being generic, and ignoring the specific safety needs of these students. The magnitude and speed of CPS’ plans will jeopardize the safety and services of the already most vulnerable students.
Federico R. Waitoller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Special Education College of Education University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Special Education
College of Education
University of Illinois at Chicago
Is a one-way ticket to Mars the best answer we have for our grandchildren? Hopefully, the answer to that question is “no” and we finally are ready to take the steps necessary to reduce climate change and its impact — ever more severe storms, droughts and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen.
The science behind climate change is clear. We must reduce carbon dioxide levels by mandating limits on carbon emissions and enacting aggressive domestic programs to accelerate the development of clean-energy techniques. We owe that to our grandchildren.
Marcia Stanton, Lindenhurst