Your Taxes At Work in Lakewood: Trick or Treat?

I’ve been neglecting Lakewood and so decided to pop over to the district website and check the most recent School Board meeting agenda. The date said October 31st at 6:30, which I thought was odd: That’s prime Halloween trick-or-treating time. Why would a Board schedule a public meeting — the only opportunity for parents and community members to address their representatives — for a time slot that guarantees almost all public school parents have prior commitments? …

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 …

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 …

Voices From the Parent Summit: An Interview with Ruthven Haneef Auguste.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. Over the next two weeks I’ll post some of the interviews. In some I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Newark dad Ruthven Haneef Auguste, who told me about his own school experiences and how he has fought for better outcomes for his three daughters. Laura: Haneef, can you tell me a …

Breaking News: Carolyn Marano is “Retiring” From the DOE.

This morning at a New Jersey Department of Education Division meeting Assistant Commissioner of Student Services Carolyn Marano announced that she is retiring on August 1st. This is good news for New Jersey parents of students with disabilities (and their parents), as well as others who fall within the Students Services purview. For those of you playing catch-up, Marano was Director of Special Education in Vernon Township where staffers filed grievances against her for harassment. …

People’s Prep Celebrates! Founder Jess Rooney Explains Her Work With Students Who Enter Years Behind Grade Level.

Last week I interviewed Jess Rooney, founder of People’s Prep, the only charter school in Newark without a “feeder,” i.e., an elementary and/or middle school that prepares students for rigorous high school academics. The reason for this interview is People’s Prep’s first celebration honoring the Class of 2019 and their families. But these honorees aren’t high school seniors: They’re college graduates. That’s because People’s Prep’s mission is to give students the tools to graduate from …

Meet Jamir, A Seven-Year-Old Asbury Park District Student Who’s Been Home for Six Months.

Jamir is seven years old, bright and smart and handsome.  He is enrolled in the Asbury Park District and is classified as eligible for special education services because of a diagnosis of ADHD but hasn’t attended school for six months. That’s because the district, according to Jamir’s grandmother, has “kicked him out” and failed to provide an appropriate alternative program for him. This is wrong in so many ways yet sadly unsurprising for a district …

Here’s A Leaked Memo From the NJ DOE’s Assistant Commissioner When She Directed Special Education in Asbury Park.

The memo below is from the New Jersey Department of Education’s Assistant Commissioner of Student Services, Carolyn Marano. It was written while she was Director of Special Education at Asbury Park Public Schools. In both positions she was hired by Lamont Repollet, first in his position as Superintendent of Asbury Park and then as NJ’s Education Commissioner. It all points to a disturbing pattern of leadership that undermines the academic trajectory of children with disabilities. This …

How My Husband and I Were Privileged Over Other Parents Who Seek Public School Choice

I am a mom of a son with multiple disabilities. This means that, by definition, I am a school choice supporter. Nobody bothered me and my husband when we pursued school choice. Nobody tried to disparage our reputations or vilify us. Nobody tried to stop us from making choices; in fact, they supported us. Yet groups like NJEA, Education Law Center, and Save our Schools-NJ disparage low-income families and racial minorities who want what we …