Our schools are our future. We all know that.  I am a proud product of America’s public schools and believe in them deeply. My work supports better schools for all students!

I immigrated to this great land from Holland when I was in 4th grade. I quickly learned English since no one in my small New Jersey town spoke Dutch, graduated from high school and college, and became a teacher.  Loved that!  I taught in a simpler era when fears of lawsuits and broad national policies did not trample on my daily lessons.

Next, I became a lawyer and have worked in public education for more than 35 years—first as a hearing officer for special education disputes, and then as an attorney representing public schools.

Now my path takes me in two directions—first, as a reformer and thought leader; second, as a lawyer, speaker, consultant, author, and expert in education law and policy.

First, as a reformer and thought leader, my new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law, is an urgent call for a national conversation. We need to dream big and ask, “what if!”

What if—we create a new law for all students.

What if—we focus squarely on all students to improve outcomes and rebuild trust among all players—not continue to grow distrust through bureaucratic burdens, litigation, fear of litigation, and all the rest of it.

While we may not be able to return to that simpler era, we must refocus education—including special education—on teaching and learning, not lawsuits, bureaucracy, or one size fits all national mandates.

About 12 years ago, a group of us created Special Education Day—to celebrate the success of special education since 1975 and to spur reform. Please visit www.specialeducationday.com for more information.

Among reforms spawned at Special Education Day is SpedEx, the successful alternate dispute resolution model that is sponsored and funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For information, please visit https://sites.google.com/a/bc.edu/spedexresolution

Please see below for samples of my published writing.

You’re invited to join this vital effort to build a NEW special education law that returns educators and parents to the mission of educating all students. It is time!

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Second, as a lawyer, speaker, consultant, author, and expert in public education law and policy for more than 35 years, I work with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens on the challenges that impact schools these days–so we can all get back to the mission of educating all children.

Among popular presentations are the following:

  • Educating  ALL students—Building a NEW Law for today’s times
  • Special education and Section 504—the nuts and bolts
  • Accommodations and modifications–which is which, why it matters, and what’s fair?

… all in plain English.   These presentations are designed to generate conversation and new ideas and paths, clarify confusion to build confidence among educators, citizens, and parents, and to move education forward for all students.

For more information, please email me at Miriam@schoollawpro.com.

Sample Writing and Op-eds

Mainstreaming Special-Ed Students needs Debate,” Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2013

Special Ed Needs Flexibility to Build Trust and Improve Outcomes,”Education News, June 8, 2012

Special Education: Its Ethical Dilemmas, Entitlement Status, and Suggested Systemic Reforms,” University of  Chicago Law Review on line, May 7, 2012

Four Common-Sense Proposals for Special Education Reform,” April 27, 2012, The Atlantic on line

Disabling the SAT,” Education Next, Fall 2003

And finally, my book, Legalese, the Words Lawyers Use,  can be downloaded for free