Many thanks for your coverage over the last few weeks of the parents’ efforts to bring change to the TEAM program in Special Education at OPRF High School. This is certainly a vital and controversial issue that justifiably calls for the attention of the entire community. The importance of the high school, and the importance of how it is viewed, are two points that probably all can agree upon.
I believe that I am in a somewhat unique position to comment on the debate. I am an Instructor at National Louis University in Chicago where I teach classes on Special Education to aspiring teachers. I also work as a special educator at Cook Country Jail. But my proudest credential is that I am the mother of a brilliant OPRF High School senior who plans on following me in a career as a special education teacher.
I can state unequivocally that there is far more flexibility and far more willingness to try new approaches in the administration of special education in Cook County Jail than there is in OPRF High School.
The field of Special Education has been undergoing considerable change over the last decade or two. The Cook County Jail has shown a readiness to try new approaches that is apparently lacking in OPRFHS’s TEAM program. The stonewalling of parents seeking reform in OPRFHS’ TEAM is simply appalling.
My students in the jail often come from harsh backgrounds, and have experienced abuse, both verbal and physical, as children. Yet in the classroom, absolutely no abuse against students is tolerated.
I certainly hope that OPRFHS’ TEAM lives up to that standard. Evidence, however, suggests that it does not always do so.