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Parents Call For Chicago Public Schools To Fix Special Education Program

CHICAGO (CBS) - Student advocates say special education in Chicago's public schools is broken and needs to be fixed.

CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports education officials are afraid that even if someone was put in place to try to improve it, the problem may not be completely solved.

Christine Palmieri is a single mom. She has waged a multi-year, almost $20,000 battle with Chicago Public Schools. She says she fought to get her 9-year-old son, Miles, who has Autism, the special education services she feels he needs.

"They found that CPS was systemically violating these children's civil rights by withholding, delaying, and denying," stated Terri Smith-Roback, a parent and special education advocate.

Officials with the State Board of Education acknowledge her concerns are part of a bigger special education problem within CPS.

Smith-Roback, along with Palmieri, submitted affidavits to the State Board of Education about their concerns, along with hundreds of others.

"Everybody had similar stories. Kids having services that weren't being delivered," said Smith-Roback.

As a result, after hearings on the issue, ISBE's attorney will recommend a monitor be put in place to make sure CPS follows the law.

Concerns, however, still exist.

"I'm concerned that there's no enforcement measure in to make sure CPS follows these recommendations," said Palmieri. She says she believes that there has been irreparable harm done to some student's.

The Illinois State Board is expected to vote on the recommendations Wednesday.

The Chicago Public School's CEO, Janice Jackson, says improving the district's special education program is a top priority and she's committed to working with the Illinois State Board of Education to implement its recommendations.

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