I just came back from a successful speaking engagement at the AASA (American Association of School Administrators) Conference in New Orleans.

My conclusion? I think the times they are achanging… One administrator wrote to me, “I do think we are moving to a new level of discussion around special education.”

I agree.

My talk, Building a NEW general and special education system for ALL students, was visionary and thought provoking, yet also practical and fun. It challenged school leaders— general and special educators—to think anew to build programs that work for all students. And while I thought perhaps the audience would be outraged (how dare we touch the current system) and proverbially throw tomatoes, that did NOT happen. People were engaged. Interested. Excited even, I would say. We spoke about:

• What if we designed schools that are truly focused on equitable and effective/excellent teaching and learning for all students? What steps toward that end can we take tomorrow?

• What if we focus on big what ifs…not little tweaks of the current system… by challenging both general and special educators to dream big?

Well, it turns out that the times are achanging and we can begin to consider new approaches. Out of the box. Courageous. How about generation two– Special Education 2.0.

Your thoughts?

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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