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CPS Special Education Discrimination: Data Sources and Methodology

We Encourage You to Explore the Data and Confirm Our Findings for Yourself

If you and/or your organization would like to replicate or validate the results of our study, we have included all of the data files below, along with notes on how we conducted our analysis.

DATA SOURCES – CPS SPECIAL EDUCATION APPEALS & DEMOGRAPHICS

Our report on Racial Disparities in Chicago Public Schools special education funding appeals is based on data released by CPS in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from WBEZ’s Sarah Karp. Click here to view a Google Sheet with the Special Education Appeals Data. The file contains three worksheets.

  1. CPS FOIA Appeals Data: The first worksheet contains the data originally released by CPS in response to WBEZ’s FOIA request.
  2. CPS FOIA Appeals Data w/demo: CPS did not include demographic data in their release, so the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association pulled that data from CPS.edu and inserted it into this file. The second worksheet contains the original FOIA data with demographic data added.
  3. CPS FOIA Appeals Data w/demo combined: There were 188 appeals from 158 different schools, so the third worksheet combines the appeals of schools that submitted multiple times. If either of a school’s multiple appeals was approved we counted them “approved.” This categorization is consistent with CPS counting individual requests as “approved,” even if they were not awarded the full amount of their request. All appeal related findings in this report are based on the data in this worksheet.

Click here to view the original link to the data sent out by Sarah Karp via Twitter.

DATA SOURCES – RATIO OF STUDENTS TO CERTIFIED STAFF

Our report includes a section that asserts CPS is virtually the most understaffed school district in Illinois, based on the ratio of students to certified staff.  Click here to view state data that includes the ratio of students to certified staff members. The state average is 10.36. The state median is 10.3. Chicago’s ratio is 15.6 and it ranks 849th out of 854 school districts.

URL’S TO ABOVE FILES.

If you have any problems with the above hyperlinks, paste the URLs below into your browser’s address bar.

A NOTE ON CATEGORIZATION: DENIED, APPROVED, AND “RESOLVED”

CPS listed nearly half of all appeals as being neither approved nor denied, but as being “resolved.” When we contacted the principals whose appeals were “resolved,” we learned that the designation meant the appeal was denied by district middle managers known as network chiefs, without ever receiving a hearing by the appeals committee (CPS is divided into “networks” of 30 – 40 schools and each network is ran be a chief). In essence we learned that “resolved” is a euphemism for “denied by middleman.” Whether a school was denied by the appeals committee or denied by a network chief, that school did not receive any of the dollars it requested, so we therefore categorized all such instances as “denied.”

Categories: Resource Adequacy

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