Special education feels too much like a battlefield . . .
Too many special education students are falling through the cracks.
Almost 1/2 of all special education students graduate high school
- even though the majority are able.
While they are in school, they are more likely to be isolated, bullied, secluded or suspended.
No matter what level of education they have, special education students are much less likely to be employed or to complete post-high school education.
Yet the U.S. has over 5.5 million unfilled jobs.
We have a revolving door of special education teachers.
They leave their profession at twice the rate of general education teachers.
49 states report special education teacher shortages.
Many of the aides and paraprofessionals who work with the students do not have enough training.
Some of the special ed teachers themselves have insufficient or stale training.
And some general ed teachers say they do not feel sufficiently prepared to have special education students fully integrated into their classrooms.
An empathy gap complicates having a truly supportive special education system.
There is a gap between our assumptions and perceptions about each others' needs and the experience of being in the system.
Too many students, educators and families feel that they are not heard, their ideas are not valued and that their needs for support, resources and understanding are unmet.
Policies written in isolation limit students' opportunities and