Question/Comments Deadline 5 pm EDT *TODAY*
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; shareexperiences about meaningful participation in their child's education; and share information about excellent programs that exist and should be duplicated.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE?
Email your comments and questions to EducationTV@ed.gov by 5 pm today.Call into the town meeting on September 15 by dialing 1-888-493-9382 at 8p.m. EDT.
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
* 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?
DO MY QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS REALLY MATTER?
Yes! 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.
HOW CAN I VIEW THE PROGRAM?
If that link doesn't work for you, try this one:
http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/index.html 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. 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
or go to http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/index.html and click on
the National Town Meeting with Arne Duncan.