Parent Voices: This District Calls the Police When a 6-Year-Old with Down Syndrome Points a Finger But Ignores Beatdowns.

This guest post was written by blogger Pattye Benson, who lives in the Tredyffrin/Easttown (T/E) school district in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It is a follow-up to last week’s post, written by the mom of a kindergartner with Down Syndrome. The earlier post describes how the six-year-old pointed her finger at a teacher and said “I shoot you;” the district reacted by making a formal police report, which will remain on Margot’s permanent record. Here is …

Here’s What Happened Yesterday When AFT and NEA Locked Out Black and Brown Parents from a Candidate Forum.

Yesterday the AFT/NEA sponsored a “Public Education Forum” in Pittsburgh. There, hand-selected union members heard from seven Democratic presidential candidates as one by one they pledged their troth, promising to starve alternative public schools and increase funding for traditional schools in exchange for teacher union money and endorsement. At the same time as the candidates were courting union lobbyists, over 250 parents, mostly Black and Brown mothers and grandmothers, gathered in a hotel down the …

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. …

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 …

Spare Me The Tulips: Fragile X Syndrome, A New Drug Trial, and A Few Reflections

It’s hard work being a parent. In a family like mine that values intellectual pursuits, I think it’s that much harder when your child has cognitive deficits. I confess that even now, 24 years after my son’s birth and 22 years after his diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome, I still, on occasion, find myself indulging in fantasies that my son is magically rendered neuro-typical like his three siblings.  I know that’s not very “woke” of …

For Teachers Looking For An Alternative to Traditional Education Associations, Here’s a Real Find.

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Parlett Butcher, New Jersey’s Regional Membership Director of the Association of American Educators. Liz was born and raised in Atlantic County, where she lives with her husband and four children, two of whom have special needs. Where appropriate I’ve added links.  Laura: Liz, I confess that I don’t know much about the Association of American Educators (AAE). Can you fill me in? Liz: Of course. AAE …

How Do Low Expectations Work For Asbury Park’s Special Needs Kids? Legislators and State Board Members Pay Heed.

On Tuesday I commented on the New Jersey Department of Education’s proposal to the State Board of Education to lower standards for high school graduation. Instead of focusing on what NJ parents really need — clear information about school quality and student progress towards independent adulthood (70% of NJ community college students have to take remedial courses on content they should have mastered in high school)  — the DOE, with the backing of Gov. Murphy/NJEA …

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 …