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December 22, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Guest: We can do better for students with special needs

Ramona Hattendorf

Ramona Hattendorf

Special education in Washington is a mess. For families, it can be adversarial and emotionally draining. For students, it can be isolating, even traumatizing. We need to create equal opportunities to learn.

For those in the field, that can be hard to hear, and certainly we have some phenomenal staff members working with children with disabilities. Still, conflicts with special education are the most common calls to the state’s Office of the Education Ombuds, by far. And many problems with discipline and bullying loop back to it.

Parents struggle with delays or denial of interventions and accommodations. Children struggle with segregation and a sense of failure that erode their emotional health.

All this was captured in a recent report to the Legislature calling for a commission to usher in change. But what got lost in translation was the proposed solution.

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