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Some High-Performing Charters are Innovating in Special Ed – Leaving School Districts Behind

Charter schools often have an awkward, if not contentious, relationship with their local districts. That makes sense, as the public charter school movement is essentially a reaction to what can be a cookie cutter way of educating kids in neighborhood schools. Yet charter schools are part of the very same district (or state) that funds the neighborhood schools. It’s as if they’re siblings – they have the same parents but [...]

By |July 7th, 2014|Charter Schools, Inclusion, Special Education|0 Comments

Charter Schools, the Time is Now to Take On Special Ed in a Big Way

Charter schools and special education. Two concepts antithetical to each other? Not in my book. A handful of public charters are already doing a bang-up job educating kids with disabilities, I swear. And some visionary charter school leaders already see special education not merely as a political liability, which it is now more than ever, but as an opportunity to propel charters even further into the mainstream and to prove [...]

The Common Core and Disadvantaged Learners – Does NY Have Some Answers?

The short answer is a resounding, YES.  As you may have heard, after New York announced that their test scores under the Common Core dropped a full 30 percent, Obama's Secretary of Education notoriously singled-out "white suburban moms" as particularly vociferous opponents of the Common Core standards - which are coming soon to a school near you. Secretary Duncan, in trying to belittle their maternal opposition, went on to say [...]

The Promising Future of Virtual SpEd

In my role as a special education advocate working primarily in Miami-Dade – the fourth largest public school district in the country – I’ve participated in hundreds of school meetings.   Naturally as an advocate, I meet lots of dissatisfied parents, but I also see very unhappy teachers and administrators who are equally frustrated with a special education system laden with laws and red tape that often doesn’t result in even [...]

Don’t Let Your School Get Away with Denying an Evaluation to Your Child

Every so often the government takes a powerful stance on the side of the less powerful.  January 21, 2011 was one of those moments.  On that date the United States Department of Education released a memo to the State Directors of Special Education stating that schools cannot deny or delay a parent's request for a psycho-educational evaluation of their child if the parent and the school believe that the child [...]

Can A Child with Behavior Problems Survive in a Typical Classroom?

This issue is really getting to me lately.  It seems I have several clients right now who have bright kids who are perfectly capable of doing well in a general education classroom but for their behavior problems.  The schools I'm dealing with often want to transfer the kids to special education classrooms which are exclusively for kids with "emotional or behavior disorders" or to another type of classroom purely for kids in special [...]

Bullying May Violate Disabled Child’s Civil Rights

Bullying is a hot topic in the news lately as well it should.   And as a special education attorney I hear about students with disabilities being bullied frequently.  See this article from StopBullingNow.com and this site EyesonBullying for good advice about what to do if your child is being bullied. The Obama administration is pressuring schools to help curb bullying, particularly when the victim it targeted because he or [...]

Even If You Could Get a 1:1 Aide, Here’s Why You May Not Want One.

I hear it less now than I used to, but parents still routinely ask whether I can help their child get a 1:1 aide (meaning a paraprofessional who is ostensibly hired only to support a single child). My first response is that it's always been very difficult, but due to budget cuts, it's more difficult now than ever.  My next response is that aides are not usually the answer to [...]

By |January 24th, 2013|1:1 Aide, Behavior Problems|34 Comments

Can that IQ be Right? Autism and IQ

More and more often I am advocating for children on the autism spectrum who are achieving at or above grade level, but whose IQ scores show them to have below average or even mentally deficient intelligence levels. The IQ score is supposed to represent a person's ability to learn so, how could it be that a child could be learning so well but be mentally retarded? The answer is that [...]

By |December 21st, 2012|autism, autism spectrum disorders, Evaluations|0 Comments

Finally, Some Good News for Gifted and Disabled!

One of the most challenging and infuriating areas in which I practice is advocating for the gifted and disabled (called "twice exceptional") these days.  I feel particularly passionately about these cases because I fall into the category of twice exceptional (I suffer from multiple learning disabilities) and when I was a student in public school, I was left back in second grade and misdiagnosed as cognitively "slow." I am continually arguing to the school [...]

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