It’s always fascinating to read the ups and downs of this annual poll. Issues include teacher pay, charters, vouchers, funding, etc.

As a staunch supporter of public education, I”m concerned about a huge missing piece: special education. It involves about 13-14% of our students (roughly speaking, far more than twice those who attend charters or use vouchers) and the cost for their education is anywhere between21 and 40% of school budgets. Yet it’s not even on the front burner here.

I’ve been working to reform special education so it works well for ALL students–whether disabled or not– and ALL teachers. Special education policies –including mainstreaming, inclusion, standards, accommodations, and many others–affect ALL schools. It is my view that we can’t really understand public policy or move the needle on improving education for ALL students without tackling special education…. As you can see in my book, Special Education 2.0, it’s more than time to break taboos and create public education that works for ALL students.

Why are there no questions about any of this? Wati ’til next year!

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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