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, More information can be obtained also at and

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.

  • Nathan Levenson, Managing Director, District and Community Partners.
    Fixing Special Education is far reaching, yet practical. The analysis convincingly challenges conventional practice and lays out a road for reform. It is the intersection of out of the box thinking and a life time of in the trenches experience.
  • Fordham Institution’s  Education Gadfly review in the “recommended reading section
    This little flipbook takes a critical look at special education in America and offers twelve suggestions to improve it. The author argues forcefully that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is no longer adequate (though it has played an important role heretofore) and that special ed itself needs an overhaul. She contends that IDEA has become too inclusive, now covering many children for whom it wasn’t meant and who don’t necessarily need special education. (Just 30 percent of kids currently covered by IDEA are estimated to have severe disabilities.) Moreover, today’s special ed regime serves to hold capable kids to lower standards, costs a lot of money, and encourages schools to give extra attention only to kids with diagnosed disabilities, which can mean less attention for others. Besides all that, the bureaucracy that has sprung up around IDEA has become overwhelming, as has the litigation, which further serves to pit parents against schools. Powerful stuff, and available for purchase here.
  • California grandmother:
    “If anyone asks you about this book, I can recommend it. My children used it as a powerful tool in helping them get their first California grandmother, “If any parents want to know about this book and whether it is helpful, I can personally IEP for their child.”
  • Kentucky mom:
    “Miriam, many thanks for the IEP Team Meetings book. The layout, the simplicity, and the explanations were all great! Your book helped us achieve a better IEP for our daughter.”
  • Massachusetts special education director:
    “I attended your seminar yesterday and got this book. I have to tell you, I am LOVING your little orange book. I read it last night. I cannot fully express what a find it is for me. I want to buy it for my entire staff and all the administrators. It is informative, it cuts to the chase, and it’s entertaining!!! Who would ever think a book about special education law could be funny! Really, I was talking about it all day today at another conference I went to! I really do want to order more than 35 of your little orange books. I ‘d like to keep some on my shelf for parents too!”