Dee Alpert

I read with sadness that Dee Alpert died last weekend. While I did not know her, I knew of her passionate advocacy for special education. Her death is a loss to our community.

As some of you know, at the end of 2009, I was interviewed by Education News.Org about my new book then, Fixing Special Education.  Dee contributed a very interesting comment. I contacted her after that–but we never got together.

So now I reread her comment.  She both criticized my interview and agreed with it that something needs to change. Her suggestion?  Do away with the IDEA! And instead, at the end of every year, have an outside independent evaluator assess whether the student made progress. If yes, presumably, stay with the program. If no, give the parents a voucher so they can choose another.  You can read her comments at the “most commented’ section of

Agree or disagree, Dee was a creative forward looking advocate, pushing for children to learn more and better. I will miss her contributions going forward.

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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