Blog

A Back-to-School Love Letter to Parents of Kids With Special Needs and Disabilities

This is a guest post by ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson, the mother of two free-spirited, strong-willed girls and whose husband should be appointed a saint for co-existing in the madness that is their life. She writes on politics, education, current events and social justice. This piece was originally published at Education Post. Dear Fellow Parent Warriors, While every… Continue reading A Back-to-School Love Letter to Parents of Kids With Special Needs and Disabilities

Blog

Should Schools Push Kids Out Of Their Comfort Zones?

Earlier this month, The Atlantic ran a piece entitled, Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations. Taylor Lorenz wrote: “(S)tudents have started calling out in-class presentations as discriminatory to those with anxiety, demanding that teachers offer alternative options…. “Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,” says Ula, a 14-year-old in eighth grade, who,… Continue reading Should Schools Push Kids Out Of Their Comfort Zones?

Accountability · Finding the Right School · School Choice

Not Backpacks Full of Cash: Backpacks Full of Rights! NCSECS Takes On Special Education Equity in Charter Schools

It’s a common complaint among those who turn down their collective nose at public charter schools: they don’t serve their fair share of students with disabilities, or at least those with moderate to severe disabilities, and they counsel out kids who can’t deal with academic rigor, either back to their sending districts or to private… Continue reading Not Backpacks Full of Cash: Backpacks Full of Rights! NCSECS Takes On Special Education Equity in Charter Schools

Blog · Finding the Right School

Nobody Puts My Baby In The Corner (Except When They Do). A New Report on Inclusion with Relevance to New York.

Parenting typical children is hard. Parenting children with special needs is harder. (I get to say this; I’ve got three of the former and one of the latter.) For our youngest son with multiple disabilities that range from moderate to severe, we have committed ourselves to finding the best educational placements for him. But what… Continue reading Nobody Puts My Baby In The Corner (Except When They Do). A New Report on Inclusion with Relevance to New York.

Accountability

My Take on the Trump Administration’s Disregard for Students with Disabilities

My friends and colleagues at Education Post, Lane Wright and Ikhlas Saleem, asked me to join them on their Voices4ED podcast to talk about the Trump Administration’s stripping away of civil rights protections for students with special needs under the direction of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. To listen, click here. Episode Details: Why Laura’s recent article about Betsy DeVos resonated with so… Continue reading My Take on the Trump Administration’s Disregard for Students with Disabilities

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A White Teacher Starts a Black Lives Matter Club in a Trump-Friendly Long Island District. What Happens Next?

Mark Jackett is a high school special education teacher on Long Island. He lives in Port Jefferson with his wife, two daughters, two cats, and eight chickens. It’s not easy being Black in one of Suffolk County’s big, predominantly white high schools. So when one of the handful of Black students at the high school… Continue reading A White Teacher Starts a Black Lives Matter Club in a Trump-Friendly Long Island District. What Happens Next?

Accountability

DeVos Is Stripping Away Civil Rights Protections for Students With Special Needs

I’m detecting a trend. Recently, The Atlantic ran a piece that catalogues the Trump administration’s disregard of civil rights protections for Americans (and aspiring Americans) during the tenure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Across every issue, from criminal-justice reform to voting rights to LGBTQ rights,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil… Continue reading DeVos Is Stripping Away Civil Rights Protections for Students With Special Needs

Accountability · Blog

Wesley’s Story, Part 3: “This Is A Bigger Issue Than Wesley,” or How the NYC DOE is Failing Students with Disabilities

Data for [School Year] 2016 –17 contained in this report shows promising movement toward ensuring that students are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate for their individual needs. This is a statement from the New York City Department of Education’s  most recent Annual Report on Special Education, which boasts of the “substantial improvement” and… Continue reading Wesley’s Story, Part 3: “This Is A Bigger Issue Than Wesley,” or How the NYC DOE is Failing Students with Disabilities

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My Sister’s Battle With Mental Illness Taught Me Never to Stand for Pretense.

Today is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month so I’m sharing this story of my younger sister Carla. A different version appeared on New Jersey Left Behind and this one was first published at Education Post. My parents, Jerry and Emily, had three daughters. I’m the oldest, followed by Carla two years later, and… Continue reading My Sister’s Battle With Mental Illness Taught Me Never to Stand for Pretense.

Blog · Finding the Right School · School Choice

Wesley’s Story, Part II: “You’re Telling Me That a Child in a Wheelchair Would Be Denied a Ramp?”

Back in February I interviewed Kim Williams Clark about her heroic efforts to create an inclusive education for her son Wesley, a lively, loving, and artistic nine-year-old with Down Syndrome. When the family lived in Montclair, New Jersey, Wesley was fully included with his typical peers. The family’s move to Brooklyn Heights was based on… Continue reading Wesley’s Story, Part II: “You’re Telling Me That a Child in a Wheelchair Would Be Denied a Ramp?”