To the Roundtable Editorial Board and Neighbors,
Given that the board elections are quickly approaching, I encourage my fellow neighbors to look carefully at how a legally protected class of students (those who receive special education services at ETHS) have or have not been supported.
We see disproportionality regarding graduation rates, GPAs, suspension rates and college placement and retention for students with IEPs/504s [educational plans] compared to their neurotypical peers.
I understand that Evanston school educators face many challenges when providing equitable experiences for all children , let alone an equity-in-action approach – and I understand that there is no silver bullet or quick fix for our national public school system.
However, students with disabilities, as a protected class, deserve care and attention from the school board. Some questions that board members should or must be able to answer:
- What systems and structures do Board members expect to see in place to ensure compliance with IEPs and 504 implementation?
- All teachers are teachers of students with disabilities. What does board support for a robust whole-school approach for all learners in every class (including AP or Honors) look like?
- In other words, how are obstacles removed for students with disabilities through all programming?
- It was exciting to learn of colleges’ 21st-century approach to supporting students with disabilities at a recent college fair hosted by ETHS. How is ETHS aligning its services with what those post-high school educational institutions offer?
- How are board members trained on best practices and systems of support for diverse learners?
- What is the timeline for turning this data around, understanding that children have four short years at the high school?
Each time there are board transitions, it is an opportunity to consider how our system moves forward in its equity approach. The data – which represents real lives – show that there are too many examples where the status quo in Evanston is prohibiting all children from reaching their full potential. Unless the board’s equity orientation includes students with disabilities, a promise to act on the public’s behalf feels incomplete.
Excellent questions, Mr. Weinberg, all of which should be considered by all D202 board members, present and future. Thank you for this letter.
This is so important. One candidate for ETHS school board has shown the most knowledge on this subject, awareness of the data and the research, real life experience, and a true understanding of these issues AND the solutions. Anyone interested in seeing how this positive change at ETHS can happen should visit: http://scotti4eths.com/