New Mission

New Mission

My mission is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues.

I would like to visit and observe different types of schools that have proven records of success, wherever those schools may be. I would like to meet with school directors and administrators, government officials, leaders in the business world, and others who are responsible for implementing education systems or otherwise connected to education to learn more about how education is being addressed in their communities.

If you know of any remarkable schools in other parts of the world (especially special needs schools), please let me know about them. If you know of any education experts who are engaged in remarkable work in this field, please introduce me to them.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas regarding the above. Read more about my mission here.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

NY Autism Insurance Bill Obstacles

Was it too good to be true when Governor Cuomo signed the New York autism insurance bill into law, promising parents of children with autism insurance coverage for behavioral therapies and medical expenses?  There appears to have been a hiccup in the implementation of that law.  You may be aware that the governor's office has restricted the class of individuals who are considered "qualified" to deliver these therapies.  Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA's), arguably the individuals most experienced in the provision of ABA therapy (a vital therapy for certain children with autism), have been deemed "not qualified" as providers for insurance purposes.  Was this the result of a misunderstanding of what the BCBA credential signifies?  Was  it a deliberate move meant to insulate insurance companies and stymie vulnerable parents?  It's not entirely clear.

In the meantime if you'd like to speak out about this issue, you can take action as described below in this communication I received from QSAC, an agency that delivers services to the autism community in New York City and Long Island :

Take Action: Cuomo Admin. guts NY Autism Insurance Law                                               Take Action!
Eviscerates ABA coverage

      Just weeks before the New York autism insurance reform bill went into effect on January 1, the Cuomo administration issued an erroneous interpretation of the law that guts the only real step forward for families dealing with autism. 

      Governor Cuomo’s Department of Finance has issued an “emergency” rule finding that will not recognize the credentials of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) for insurance billing purposes, so unless your behavior analyst also has a New York license as a physician, psychologist or other licensed professional, they will no be allowed to bill insurance companies. This interpretation reflects neither the letter nor intent of the law Governor Cuomo signed with much media attention and fanfare at the end of 2011. 

      Thousands of students in New York schools receive ABA as required in their IEPs provided by BCBAs, and those BCBAs are paid with tax dollars. Yet when it comes to insurance company dollars, all of a sudden BCBAs aren’t properly credentialed. This is rank toadying to the insurance companies.

       Please click on the Take Action alert to send an email to the Governor and ask him to stop delaying therapy for some of New York’s most vulnerable students.

       And please call the Governor's office and politely ask the staffer to tell the Governor to do the right thing and provide ABA for New York’s students with autism.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

(518) 474-8390

      Please share this email with friends and family and please post to Facebook and other social networks. And if you support the work of the Autism Action Network, please make a donation at

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bus Strike

What to do if the bus strike affects you?  See below for information:

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Pupil Transportation

Attention parents and guardians of students who receive yellow bus service: Beginning Wednesday, January 16, there will be a strike by bus drivers who provide school bus services to the majority of NYC's public and non-public school students and school bus service for most or all school-age students is not operating.

This should not impact Early Intervention or pre-K bus services, but there may be some disruption to those services as well. Note: Field trips using yellow bus service are canceled. After-school programs may remain open, but no busing will be provided.

Bus routesGet information about whether there is disruption on your child's route on this page which will be updated beginning at 7:00 am and throughout the day as needed.

If your child's bus route is impacted by the strike, please review the follow alternative transportation options:

Public Transportation Options

MetroCards for students: If your child currently uses school bus service to get to school, your child will receive a MetroCard at school.
MetroCards for parents: If your child has an IEP that requires transportation from home to school, or if your child normally receives busing and is enrolled in kindergarten, first, or second grade, you may request a MetroCard from your child’s school so that you can accompany your child to school.
  • Using the subway: You can use the MetroCard beginning Wednesday, January 16.
  • Traveling on an MTA bus: You can use the MetroCard beginning Thursday, January 17.
  • If your MetroCard does not work, please bring it back to your school so it can be replaced.
  • If you have a child in third, fourth, fifth, or sixth grade, and are concerned about your child using the subway or bus alone and you do not have your own MetroCard, request a MetroCard from your child’s school. We will reimburse your fare until you receive the MetroCard. Note: these MetroCards should be available for pick up on Tuesday, January 22.

Private Transportation Options

Students who receive busing from home, or students in kindergarten through sixth grade who live in areas where public transportation between home and school is not readily available have the following options:

Student Attendance and Learning at Home

Our goal is to have minimal disruption to student learning. Students affected by the strike will be excused for up to two hours of delayed travel time. If a student is unable to make it to school due to the strike, educational materials for every grade and core subject are posted here so that students can continue learning at home.
Get answers to frequently asked questions, which will be updated as more information becomes available.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year to all. We hope that 2013 brings you, your children, and your families health, happiness, and success. I want to take this opportunity to create a rudimentary wish list of improvements in education we would like to see in 2013. What changes do you personally hope to see in education this year? If you would like to add a wish to this list please send an email to Here are a couple of things we hope to see:

  • Genuine collaboration between teachers' unions and city officials to resolve local education issues of dispute not for political reasons but because it is in the best interest of our country to improve the state of education across the nation
  • Compelling comparative research on the educational models of other countries ranking high in education, including a thorough review of why those approaches have worked in those countries and whether/how those approaches can be adapted to the U.S.
  • Better oversight of the administration of preschool special education services to eliminate fraudulent activity and preserve critical dollars which would otherwise be spent on important services for children with special needs
  • Assurance that early intervention providers who have been crucial for the provision of early childhood special education services are not put out of work solely because of economic considersations that would save the city money but seriously jeopardize the development of the children who are meant to benefit from those services
  • Aggressive education and campaigning targeted to the issue of childhood obesity to educate children and their parents about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, overhauling school food programs (more than just a few pro forma tweaks to the menu here and there) to help children stay healthy, and increasing the role of meaningful physical activity throughout the school day
  • Continued research in the area of autism to better understand the factors that contribute to the birth of a child with autism, to improve the quality of available therapies, services, and medications for those who are most severely impaired, and to move closer to finding an eventual cure if one exists