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State Board Of Education Could Lift Cap On Class Size For Special Ed

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A vote by the Illinois State Board of Education Tuesday or Thursday could mean more children with learning disabilities in special ed and regular classrooms.

The state currently caps the number of special needs kids in classes catered to them (varies depending on disability), as well as requiring no more than 30 percent special ed students in general classes.

A possible vote could lift those limits, and mean that a teacher could have 17 students requiring special attention in a class of 35.

That idea scares Laurie Viets, whose 4-year-old son is autistic, and goes to Beard Elementary School on the Northwest Side. The school exclusively serves special needs children.

Viets said her son was making tremendous progress in preschool last year, but that came to a halt when his the class size went from 6 to 10.

The one teacher and two aides didn’t get additional help with the new students, Viets says.

That scenario could play out across the state if caps are lifted.

Wendy Katten, director of the education advocacy group Raise Your Hand, said the change could be devastating for the whole system.

The board is expected to vote Tuesday or Thursday at its meeting in Bloomington.

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