PUBLIC COMMENTS FOR US ED TOWN HALL DUE TOMORROW (WED 9/9) 5PM!
- The following is courtesy of Jessica Butler, a longtime advocate with Congress on behalf of students with disabilities - please feel free to share! Note that the deadline for public comments/questions is tomorrow (Wed, 9/9) at 5pm Eastern time...
SEPT 15 NATIONAL TOWN MEETING TO SHARE CONCERNS, SUGGEST EDUCATION REFORMS TO SECRETARY OF EDUCATION.
EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS BY WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 by 5pm EDT (see below "How to Participate.") Excellent opportunity for EVERYONE to participate. Share the word.
WHAT IS THE EVENT? On September 15, 2009 at 8pm EDT, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan will host an interactive national town meeting with parents across the nation by telephone, email, and with a studio audience. Parents can suggest reforms, share their ideas for improving education, and other concerns and comments. Here's an excellent opportunity for parents of children with disabilities and advocates to share their views and concerns with the Department of Education about closing the disability achievement gap and providing a truly meaningful education that enables every child to succeed; share experiences about meaningful participation in their child's education; and share share information about excellent programs that exist and should be duplicated.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE? IS THERE A DEADLINE?
Email your thoughts and ideas to EducationTV@... by 5:00 pm EDT on WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2009. You can also call into the town meeting on September 15 by dialing 1-888-493-9382. Phone lines will open at 8pm EDT on September 15.
ISSUES THAT WILL BE DISCUSSED MATTER TO PARENTS AND ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES: Topics that will be discussed include those below. Many relate to concerns that parents of children have, like adequacy of the education their children receive and what can be done to improve that education; meaningful parental participation in IEP meetings and as equals in educational planning; and restraint/seclusion. The listed topics include:
* What do we need to do, and what do we need to do differently to ensure our students are successful?
* What does a quality school look like and how can more schools become consistently high achieving?
* How can parents become more involved with and engaged in their child’s education?
* What steps are schools at all levels of education taking to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment?
* What is working and what needs to change in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? (ed note: This includes the law formerly known as No Child Left Behind.)
* What are some effective practices for recruiting, retaining, supporting and compensating highly effective teachers?
WHY PARTICIPATE/EMAIL A QUESTION? DOES MY QUESTION REALLY MATTER? It is true that not only a subset of questions may be selected for the program. But let's say that a few hundred parents send in comments about the disability achievement gap, or share their concerns about how children deserve a truly meaningful education. Even if questions do not make the program, they are being received and surely being tallied and categorized. One way that other disability achievement gaps get attention is by shining a light on them. There are 7.1 million children with disabilities and the inadequacy of education that many receive (and conversely the good educations offered by excellent programs) deserve attention, too. Why not submit a question or comment? You're not being graded. And its free! No stamp needed! If you have ever written an email post with your thoughts on education, why not share some of those thoughts?
HOW CAN I VIEW THE PROGRAM? See
for information about how to view the program, called "America Goes Back to School: A National Town Hall Meeting with Arne Duncan - Tuesday, September 15, 2009." If that link doesn't work for you, try this one:
and click on the National Town Meeting with Arne Duncan
CAN I ONLY COMMENT ABOUT MY CHILD? WHAT ABOUT ADVOCATING FOR OTHERS? It would be good to identify yourself as the parent of a child, but nothing in the announcement requires you to only speak about your own children. Indeed, many parents, in helping their communities, are concerned about issues that affect other children. This includes professional advocates and attorneys. Don't let your professional title stop you from speaking up; if you're a parent with an idea, you're invited to share it.
DOES MY QUESTION OR COMMENT HAVE TO BE PERFECT? I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO DO IT JUSTICE. No question or comment has to be perfect. Everyone posts to the Internet or writes emails with their thoughts about education reform. Its as simple as that. Just speak from your heart and experience. Keep it short and focused, though. Remember, there are two goals: getting your comment into the Town Meeting (rare) but also registering the degree of concern that parents and advocates have about children with disabilities receiving a good education and protecting their civil rights (everyone can do).
HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
The program is a special edition of Education News Parents Can Use. It is one stop on Secretary Duncan's national “Listening and Learning” tour to gather input on the administration's education agenda, including quality schools, higher standards, parent responsibility, teacher quality, health and safety, workforce development, early childhood learning, and higher education. To get more information about the National Town Meeting, visit
or go to
and click on the National Town Meeting with Arne Duncan
FEEL FREE TO FORWARD AND SHARE THIS EMAIL. The deadline for emailed questions is Wednesday Sept. 9 at 5pm EDT (which unfortunately was not well-publicized), so feel free to share this email broadly.
--jessica butlerSandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
Volunteer Co-Webmaster, Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com) (IDEA & NCLB reauthorization)