Happy New Year! 

In 2011, every month, we’ll post a STEP on the way to FIX special education–one month at a time.  There are 12 steps. By December, our transformation of the system should be well underway!

Please  share your comments and let us know what steps you are taking to fix special education. 

Happy new year! Happy transformation!

Step ONE:  January 2011—Step one to bring about climate change in our schools

 End litigation of a student’s special education services (FAPE).  Although lawsuits may have been appropriate in an earlier era, they no longer are. The system has become dysfunctional. Lawyers, judges, and outside ‘experts’ should not be selecting reading programs or deciding how to teach a child with autism. We need to let educators do that!

To end this rampant litigation, we need to define a free appropriate public education (FAPE) once and for all. Just tell us what the law requires! After 35 years of arguing about a FAPE, it’s time for Congress to define terms so teachers can teach (and not worry constantly about paperwork and threats of litigation) and students can learn.  Pedagogy (‘good teaching’ practices) should drive education—not legalism.

Getting practical, one approach is SpedEx–an innovative way for parents and schools to resolve a disputed IEP with the help of a mutually-chosen outside consultant–fully funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education!   SpedEx is quick! It’s child-centered! It builds relationships and trust among school personnel and parents!  It works!

SpedEx evolved from discussions at Special Education Day. http://www.specialeducationday.com   SpedEx is now successfully launched!  For more information, please visit   http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/spedx

Creative open-minded problem solvers—we need you now!


These steps are taken from Fixing Special Education—12 Steps to Transform a Broken SystemThe book is available at School Law Pro: http://schoollawpro.com/fixing-order.doc and at 

Park Place Publications at http://www.parkplacepubs.com/online-store/view/fixing-special-education-12-steps-to-transform-a-broken-system

 Stay tuned for February’s STEP!

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, DianeRavitch.net, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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