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 …

Tonight the Lakewood School Board Will Approve A Budget It Can’t Pay For.

Later today at its public meeting the Lakewood Board of Education will approve a budget of $204 million that assumes the state will kick in a loan of $60 million. In addition, the Board will request that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet defer the repayment of prior year DOE loans. The Board will also approve attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s annual compensation of $750,000. A few notes: If the State approves the $60 million loan, Lakewood’s unpaid annual …

New Jersey DOE Issues Guidance on Special Education Waivers: Parents Get a Win!

Last night Peggy McDonald, who leads the New Jersey Department of Education’s oversight of students with disabilities, released the memo below concerning the 30 NJ school districts represented by the Machado Law Firm that were requiring parents to sign waivers in order for their children to receive remote special education services. (See my reaction here.) Parents were told they must waive their rights to due process, as well as their children’s rights to compensatory services …

We Can’t Use This Crisis To Abandon Our Most Complex Learners: Creative Solutions Abound

This post was written by Lindsay Jones ( President and CEO of National Center for Learning Disabilities), Erin Mote ( Executive Director of InnovateEDU), Lauren Morando Rhim ( Executive Director and Co-Founder of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools), and Eric Tucker (  Executive Director of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools). It was first published at Fordham’s Flypaper. COVID-19 has delivered countless challenges for essential workers, from nurses and doctors risking their lives due …

Disability Advocates Fear Betsy DeVos Will Roll Back Students’ Educational Rights

In January 2017, during Betsy DeVos’s Senate confirmation hearing for her nomination by Donald Trump as U.S. Education Secretary, Senator Tim Kaine asked her a question about the rights of students with disabilities. She replied, “I think that is a matter that is best left to the states.” When Senator Maggie Hassan, who has a son with cerebral palsy, asked DeVos directly whether she understood that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is federal law …

For Students Who Struggle With Reading, This Mom of a Dyslexic Son Has Some COVID-19 Era Advice

This is a guest post by Debbie Meyer, a founding member of the Dyslexia (Plus) in Public Schools Task Force, a small group of community leaders working to help students with dyslexia and related language-based disabilities thrive in their neighborhood schools. This was first published at Education Post. For me, helping my son go from a bright but illiterate fourth-grader to a high school student who can read and write was an incredible full-time job. It was really hard …

Free Internet Access For Low-Income Families Must Be A Fundamental Right During COVID-19.

This is a post by my friend and colleague Zachary Wright, a national finalist for the United States Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship. Zach is an assistant professor of practice at Relay Graduate School of Education serving Philadelphia and Camden. Prior to that, he was the 12th-grade world literature and AP literature teacher at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus. This was originally published on Education Post. Access to public education is now a fundamental right. …

This Father of a Special Needs Student Thinks Online Instruction Can Be A Great Fit.

This is a guest post by Jeff Kwitowski, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Policy at K12 Inc. For more than 20 years he’s been active in education policy and advocacy.  He lives in Herndon, VA with his wife, Rebecca, and their four daughters.  It was originally published on brightbeam’s Project Forever Free. Education in America came to a virtual standstill after schools were ordered closed in a nationwide effort to contain the spread …

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. …