Dear friends of education,

Hopefully, this year will bring success to SpedEx–the innovative dispute resolution model that grew out of Special Education Day celebrations. It is now one of the options that Massachusetts offers for parents and schools who are embroiled in a dispute about a child’s placement and right to a FAPE–a free appropriate public education. If you are interested, please visit my prior posts and check SpedEx out at, or at

Why the hope? It’s more than time. We need to work together for children. Recently, I realized just how polarized and litigious special education practice is these days when I called several parent advocates/attorneys and to invite them for coffee–let’s just talk. They seemed happy to make a ‘date’ with me. Yet, each of these folks canceled our ‘date’ –with no attempt to reschedule! I tried several times, but without success. And was astounded, actually.

What take-away message would you draw from this? None? It’s just a coincidence? For me it shows how far we have gone from the cooperative, problem-solving mode that was the law’s intent.

Let us hope the year 2009-2010 brings us back to that approach.

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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