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 …

NJ School Districts Best Not Mess with Special Ed Parents

When news leaked that 30 New Jersey districts were demanding that parents sign waivers before their kids could get access to special education services during pandemic school closures, the proverbial shit hit the fan. And rightly so. Special education parents know that certain services listed in Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) can’t be delivered remotely and certain therapies can’t be replicated in the home environment. Here’s what we do know: IEP’s are legal contracts and, while …

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 …

Newark Superintendent Wants to Build That Wall. Will The DOE Stop Him?

Newark may have problems but one of them isn’t the production of drama. Recent example: Superintendent Roger Leon declared last month, ““I believe families should make decisions where their child should go [to school] and I don’t think anyone should change that.” Then last week  he took the unprecedented step of writing a (boiler-plate, error-ridden) letter to the New Jersey Department of Education demanding that four Newark charter schools be shut down. From all accounts, …

New Report From the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools: How Does Enrollment of Students with Disabilities Vary Between the Sectors?

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), a non-profit started in 2013 to address the challenges associated of providing high-quality access and supports to students with disabilities enrolled in charters, has a new report that went live this morning. “Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools: A Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection” examines the last five years for trends on enrollment, discipline, inclusion, and placement with a particular focus …

Improving Special Education is a Priority for Newark Charters

Mark Rynone is Executive Director of the NJ Special Education Collaborative. Since its inception in 2013, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools has provided support to charter schools in Newark. The focus of our work has been to improve the capacity of charter schools across the city to ensure that they are equipped to provide high quality supports and services to students with a wide range of learning differences. In 2016, we …

I’m Celebrating How Newark Took Charter Schools From the Fringe to the Center

(Michele Mason is executive director of the Newark Charter School Fund, founded in 2008 to help provide all Newark students with access to great schools in collaboration with district efforts to improve the quality of Newark public education.) All parents deserve access to a high-quality school that nurtures and supports their children. But despite best intentions, many Newark parents continue to struggle finding great schools in the neighborhoods where they live. Many children fall victim …

New Report on Special Education in Charter Schools: Room to Grow, But Steady Progess

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) released a report today, “Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools: A Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection,” which examines 2013-2014 data on enrollment and placements of children with disabilities in the nation’s charter schools. Let’s preface this post with a nod to those who claim that some charters produce better student outcomes because they don’t accept their “fair share” of  kids …