Seven Tips for Parents of Children With Disabilities During School Closures.

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools just released its “top tips” for parents of students with disabilities during these endless school closures. Check it out! If you’re a parent whose world has been turned upside down by COVID-19, you’re certainly not alone. In the span of days as the virus spread, America’s parents took on a new role—co-teachers. And as students around the world have transitioned to remote learning, parents of students …

My Child with Dyslexia Won’t Be Your Statistic

Marilyn Muller is the mother of a 12 year-old child with dyslexia. She is a retired SmithBarney Financial Advisor turned full-time mom and accidental volunteer activist. Through her daily efforts she advocates for evidence-based literacy practices in public school classrooms for the equitable benefit of each vulnerable child. I didn’t lay in a hospital bed for 51 days to lose my only biological child to illiteracy. Yet I almost did. This isn’t supposed to happen because …

Remote Education Shines a Light on the Inequities Special Needs Students Already Face in Schools

Ten-year-old Gavin Williams is a lively and affectionate youngster who loves to visit museums, experiment with computer-coding and plunge into ocean waves with his boogie-board.  Gavin is also a fifth-grade student with disabilities who, his mother Sarah told me, has been effectively abandoned by his New Jersey district during COVID-19 school closures. While the quality of remote instruction offered by schools throughout the country varies from desultory to ambitious—an ongoing survey by the Center for Reinventing …

Education Law Center Nails Problems with the DOE’s Emergency Changes For Special Education Students.

Tomorrow morning the New Jersey State Board of Education will hold its first-ever Skype public meeting due to COVID-19. The first item on the Board’s agenda will be a proposal by Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet that allows schools, during this State of Emergency, to provide services to students with disabilities on virtual platforms. Education Law Center will be there to quibble. And everyone’s right. Quick backstory: When districts abruptly closed, some shut down all remote …

NJ’s Head of Special Education on Home Instruction for Students with Disabilities: “I’m Not Trying To Sugarcoat This in Any Way.”

If you’re a parent of a child with disabilities, you might have panicked when you read this yesterday: As part of [U.S.] Congress’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proposed to include a provision in the pending stimulus bill that would give the Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory and/or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for 1 year and extensions …

Schools Must Stop Using Students With Disabilities as An Excuse to Do Nothing

My husband and I have four children. Our three oldest are what we in the special needs community call “neuro-typical” and our youngest has multiple disabilities. Let’s pretend that they are all school-age—our whole family thrust into COVID-19 school-closure chaos—and we are informed that because our district can’t comply fully with our disabled child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), our three other kids will have no support or instruction from their teachers for weeks or months. …

All the Things Max Eden Gets Wrong About Students With Disabilities and IDEA.

We barely survived my son Jonah’s adolescence. One evening in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station he pushed me so hard I fell to the ground and a woman leaned over and whispered in my ear, “that child has the devil in him.” When my husband took our four kids to a minor league baseball game, Jonah started stomping and yelling so angrily that park officials called security. One day in upstate New York where we rent …

We Need a New Way of Talking About Students Who Face Barriers Erected by Adults and Sustained by Broken Systems

This is a guest post by Cami Anderson, a lifelong educator and advocate for the nation’s most vulnerable students. After 20 years as a chief executive in government and nonprofits focused on equity for the most underserved populations in our country (including Superintendent of Newark Public Schools from 2011-2015), Cami now leads ThirdWay Solutions, an organization dedicated to finding innovative, 21st century solutions to the most intractable challenges leaders face in pursuit of ambitious goals. …

Special Education Parents, Know Your Rights! (Part 2)

Last week I published a post called “Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!” and suggested that we in the special needs community share information to better advocate for our children. During the past week I’ve received many questions and comments from parents who are doing their best to navigate what can be an overwhelming thicket of regulations and red tape as they struggle to secure necessary services for …

Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!

When I speak to parents of children with disabilities, I often hear reports of Child Study Teams (those responsible, along with parents, for creating Individualized Education Plans or IEP’s) who pass along false information or undermine the critical role parents have in deciding on necessary services and appropriate placements.  I hear these reports from Latinx parents — some not completely comfortable with the English language and/or concerned about their immigration status — in low-income districts …