• What do I think of Betsy DeVos?

    As someone who has benefitted from and worked in public education all my life--as a teacher, hearing officer, lawyer, author, student, and parent--and is currently working to transform special education by creating a new law, I am asked this question a lot.   I don't know much about her and look forward to learning more. What I know that she has worked as a philanthropist, favoring parental choice through vouchers and charter schools. HMMM. For me the interesting question is, How did we [...]
  • Briefly noted–the GAO report on special ed’s paperwork burdens.

    QUICK  RESPONSE TO GAO REPORT ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION’S ADMINISTRATIVE AND COMPLIANCE BURDENS February 19, 2016   Well, what do you know! In January 2016, the GAO issued a report about the special education administrative burdens imposed by federal, state and local governments, “SPECIAL EDUCATION—State and Local Imposed  Requirements Complicate Federal Efforts to Reduce Administrative Burdens.”  The GAO studied federal and state/local paperwork and compliance requirements that [...]
  • FAPE in a Dear Colleague Letter. Read my new blog on the AASA website!

    Administrators in public schools are well aware of the fact that the Department of Education issues "Dear Colleague" letters on many issues from time to time. While these letters don't have the force of law, they often create controversy and confusion. One of these, the November 16  Letter about a free appropriate public education, is discussed below.   http://www.aasa.org/aasablog.aspx?id=38814&blogid=286 6, “   November 16, 2015; Dear colleague” Letter by the US [...]
  • Here is that post at The GadFly, Fordham Institute

      The bank robber's secret to early childhood education Miriam Kurtzig Freedman September 10, 2015   In the vast “how-to-fix-education” universe, early childhood programming seems to be the new elixir. Governors and mayors push it, as does our president, viewing it as a smart investment in the future. Many children come to school unprepared to learn, so we have to intervene earlier. Right? An instinctive response is to advocate for more early childhood education. Who can [...]
  • The Bank Robber’s Secret to Early Childhood Education–Here it is!!

    http://edexcellence.net/articles/the-bank-robbers-secret-to-early-childhood-education Here is the post. If you look on line, you'll see a lovely picture of two children playing.   The bank robber's secret to early childhood education Miriam Kurtzig Freedman September 10, 2015   In the vast “how-to-fix-education” universe, early childhood programming seems to be the new elixir. Governors and mayors push it, as does our president, viewing it as a smart investment in the [...]
  • Check out my piece at The Gadfly–The Bank Robber’s Secret to Early Childhood Education

    http://edexcellence.net/articles/the-bank-robbers-secret-to-early-childhood-education Here's the link. Let me know what you think!
  • Can we really use student tests to measure teacher effectiveness?

    Here's a piece that was just posted on Diane Ravitch's blog.  Lots of comments! Hopefully this will move the conversation forward t0 good public policy. Lawyer: Are the Common Core Tests Valid for Teacher Evaluation? By dianeravitch April 16, 2015 // Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, an attorney who represents public schools in education matters, including testing and special education—and is currently working to reform special education—posted this comment. Her website is [...]
  • Please call them advanced or high achievers–not gifted or talented!

    I just read an excellent piece by Jonathan A. Plucker, “Common Core and  America’s High-Achieving Students.”  It is on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute website. For the most part, the piece uses terms appropriately--'high achievers,' 'advanced.' But, unfortunately, the terms, 'gifted' and ' high-ability' also slip into the piece. Those are labels placed  on children.  Using those labels is not helpful in advancing the important argument of the piece--which is that we need to focus on the [...]
  • Stop the invalid use of student testing to judge teachers!

    I just read this piece about needing a New Deal for testing... and add my voice to the conversation. http://edexcellence.net/articles/stump-speech-challenge-a-new-deal-on-testing Using student test results to measure teacher performance is not just 'starting to damage our schools.'  It is flawed in a far more basic way--it is invalid use of those tests.  These tests are designed to measure student performance against the Common Core--and to assess college and career readiness. They are [...]
  • Who benefits from these laws?

    Who benefits from these laws--the Common Core related testing, which is supposed to be implemented this spring,  and special education. I'm sure you can add many other laws that are presumably about schools and students but have huge unintended (or was it intended?) beneficiaries. Without getting into the pros and cons of any specific law, we can all agree that it is intended to improve the education for students. Undoubtedly, the stated  mission. And surely, many students do benefit, [...]