Great news! Hot off the press!

Miriam’s advice (along with 23 other experts) to President Obama is included in Education Week’s new book, The OBAMA Education Plan: An Education Week Guide. Published by Jossey-Bass, http://www.josseybass.com/. More information can be obtained also at http://www.edweek.org/ and http://www.epe.org/.

She’s among quite a heady crowd, as experts include our new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, Wendy Kopp, Phillip Howard, Mike Feinberg, Rick Hanushek, Andrew Rotherham, and others. But it looks like her voice is the only one calling for the reform of special education:

Our special ed law started in the [1970’s] because back then, many students with disabilities, about a million of them, were excluded from school. The issue then was access to programming for all children. The law provided new funding, new direction, and due process rights for parents. It was a new day. [As a result, all students with disabilities were provided special education services.]

Now, many of us–educators, administrators, taxpayers, parents–have come to the unsettling realization that the system strugges and is unsustainable. Burdensome requirements take teachers and students away from the mission: teaching and learning. We spend some [110] billion dollars on special ed, yet the budgetary system has not kept up with the times because special ed costs, protected by federal law, often impact other school programs and reforms.

I would tell the President that, as sad as it is, even though we met the access challenges ofthe ’70’s, this law has not changed. And I think some courage to step up to the plate is what’s needed.

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