Our schools are our future. We all know that. I am a proud product of America’s public schools and believe in them deeply. Thus, my work supports better public schools for all students!
I immigrated to this great land from Holland when I was in 4th grade. I learned English rather quickly–because no one in my New Jersey town spoke Dutch!, graduated from high school and college, and became a teacher. Loved that! Alas, I taught in a simpler era when fears of lawsuits and broad national policies did not trample on my daily lessons.
After my teaching career, I became a lawyer. As a lawyer, I’ve 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. 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, and one size fits all national mandates.
Now my path takes me in two directions–as a reformer and thought leader. I speak and write to promote these ends.
As a reformer and thought leader, I know that we need to start a new conversation about educating all children. I’ve moved beyond ‘fixing special education’ as I don’t see us able to do that. Tweaks will not suffice. I’ve come to believe that we need a new law–let’s call it Special Ed 2.0.
We need to focus squarely on all students to rebuild trust among all players–not continue to grow distrust through litigation, fear of litigation, and all the rest of it.
You’re invited! Please join this vital effort to transform special education and return educators and parents to the mission of educating all students. It is time! Check this website and the Special Education Day site (www.specialeducationday.com) for news of our reform efforts.
As a lawyer, speaker, consultant, and author, and an expert in public education law for more than 35 years, I work with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to deal with the legal requirements which impact schools these days. I translate complex legalese into plain English, focusing on good preventive practices. Here too, I promote policies and strategies that help schools get back to the mission of educating ALL children.
Among popular presentations are the following:
- Special education and Section 504
- No Child Left Behind
- Education Reform: How, for whom and why
- IDEA and special education concerns
- 13 Costly Mistakes that IEP and Section 504 Teams continue to make–and how to break the habit!
- Accomodations and modifications–which is which and why it matters
- Closing the achievement gap–issues and challenges
- Report cards, transcripts, and graduation–How to develop them legally!
… and all in plain English. I believe that educators are the pros who need this information to move from confusion to confidence and return to the mission of educating all students.