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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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Persistent Special Education Deprivations in Texas: A Day Of Reckoning

Over the weekend a friend forwarded an article published in Bloomberg about special education deprivations in Texas.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the story to illustrate the kinds of obstacles that parents of special needs children often face.  The story was familiar to me because I had been keeping abreast of some of the special education legal issues in Texas.  What I did not realize when I first opened the article is that it was written by John O'Neil whom my wife and I met a few months ago at the CASP benefit we all attended in March.  John had mentioned briefly that he was working on a story of this nature but it had fallen off my radar.  Nothing gets past my wife, however, and she quickly pointed out that it could be written by the person we had spoken with at the CASP event.  I thought it over for a minute and realized that my wife was right, as she often is.

While John's article focuses on recent developments within the Texas educational system, it highlights a number of barriers that I think parents of children with special needs anywhere oftentimes encounter in pursuing appropriate special education programs and services for their children.  Some of the barriers and issues highlighted in John's article include:

  • Budgetary issues 
  • Quotas/Caps
  • State reimbursement 
  • Federal funding  
  • The relationship between delinquent local school districts and federal government agencies (or federal courts) that are responsible for enforcing IDEA 
  • Tax implications 
  • Shortages of qualified teachers, psychologists, and therapists
  • Certification and qualifications of teachers employed in the school district 
  • Possible cuts to other school spending
  • Backlash from the general education community 

In my experience in New York, clients and prospective clients frequently ask me, "Why won't the school district agree to provide the special education programs/services that my child clearly needs and is entitled to?"  For instance, parents will go in to their school district meetings with evaluations, experts, and persuasive legal arguments carefully organized to support their position about their child's needs, only to be brushed aside by the school district team and brusquely told that their child does not meet the necessary criteria to obtain the services the parents are seeking.  The team usually goes on to say that if the parents have a problem with the team's determination they can pursue their due process rights through the impartial hearing system, which may be effective in the long run but usually is not a quick fix.  

In my 10 years of practice in this field, these issues have always existed and I do not have any reason to believe that they will go away.  The silver lining is that in New York City we have a robust impartial hearing system that gives parents a forum for formally addressing these issues and resolving their claims.  Even in states where the impartial hearing system may not be as structured, parents have the right to pursue their rights under the IDEA in federal court.  Parents always have the right to avail themselves of legal counsel to assist them with pursuing their claims.  And if it is established that a school district has engaged in a persistent pattern of depriving students with disabilities of services to which they are entitled, a day of reckoning will eventually come, as it did in Texas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

222 Broadway

This week we moved in to a beautiful new office space at 222 Broadway in the Financial District after spending almost 9 years at 100 Church Street.

It is always bittersweet leaving a place where you have experienced so much.  100 Church is where I started the firm back in December 2009.  The firm has grown so much since then and I have grown immensely both personally and professionally.

At the same time, we are all feeling extremely energized and excited about our new beginnings.  I myself have been on an absolute high since we moved in.

On behalf of our team let me say that we are thrilled about working with you in the new school year and we are looking forward to welcoming you to our amazing new space.

If you are an existing client and we have not met in person recently please contact our office administrator to schedule an appointment so we can touch base, review the status of your case, and go over any questions or concerns you may have.

Please also update your records to reflect our new office address.  For now you can continue to contact our office using the phone numbers and email addresses that you have used in the past as they will remain active, and we will keep you informed regarding any updated contact information.

For your viewing pleasure, here are pictures of our new building and the view from my office (check out the castle-like building on the left side of the second picture):


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer Vibes

For some people summer means the beach, the sun, the pool, friends, relaxation, vacation, sports, exercise, and happiness.  Whatever summer means to you, I hope you are enjoying it, relaxing, and recharging your batteries.

On the personal side, it has been a great summer for me and one of the best highlights was traveling with my wife and some friends to Iceland.  We spent 5 days and split our time between the South Coast and Reykjavik.  On the South Coast we visited a beautiful crater where we found a calm body of light blue water surrounded by red lava ash and green mossy hills.  We visited impressive waterfalls of different sorts.  At one waterfall, we were able to walk behind the towering stream of water through a cave; at another, we tiptoed oh so carefully on rocks that barely peaked out of the water trying not to slip into the water or bump into our neighbors in order to enter a cave where a hidden waterfall could be found.  We marveled at a geyser bursting up from the earth.  We hiked on a glacier, which was awe-inspiring in and of itself, but even more so because of the kaleidoscope of colors in the surrounding landscape consisting of black lava ash, green moss, white ice, and streaks of blue (from the ice that had only been exposed to the sun for a brief time).  After some time on the coast, we made our way to Reykjavik.  Reykjavik is a lovely city with friendly people and a fun vibe.  We enjoyed exploring the city on foot, learning about the country's history and culture, horseback riding, and enjoying entertainment at the impressive Harpa concert hall.

On the professional side, summer also means that our law office is super busy helping our clients transition from one school year to the next.  Our office has been:

  • Speaking with parents regarding proposed program and placement options
  • Advising parents regarding Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and school visits
  • Filing Due Process Complaints (DPC's) for our 12-month clients 
  • Preparing Ten Day Notice Letters (TDN's) for our 10-month clients 
  • Filing pendency requests 
  • Referring parents to private professionals in order to obtain necessary evaluations 
  • Connecting parents with service providers
  • Advising parents about busing-related issues 

In addition, we are preparing to move offices over the next few weeks to accommodate our firm's changing needs.  Our offices will still be located in downtown Manhattan just a few blocks from where we are located now, which means we will continue to be conveniently located next to many different train stations, and close to the impartial hearing office in Brooklyn so that our attorneys can commute there easily.

We are excited about continuing to achieve outstanding results for our clients in the 2018-2019 school year and continuing to build our team, innovate, and impress.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.  If you are an exiting client and we can assist with your case, or if you are not currently a client but have some questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office and will be happy to discuss your situation with you.