Advocates for special education students will rally Wednesday in Lansing, hoping to influence state officials to abolish rules they say are leading to increased class sizes and caseloads.A key issue is a state rule -- adopted in the early 2000s -- that allows the state's 57 intermediate school districts (ISDs) to stray from state guidelines on a number of issues, including how many students can be in a classroom or how many students are assigned to one teacher's caseload.
The ISDs are agencies that provide a number of services to local districts located within their geographic boundaries. About 50 of them have taken advantage of the flexibility the state rule allows by developing alternative plans for delivering special education services. Rally organizers say it's having a detrimental effect on students with special needs.
"Teachers are overburdened and overstressed. It's not sustainable," said Marcie Lipsitt, a parent advocate and co-founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education, which is sponsoring the rally.