Table of Contents

    Cover Story
  • Free Of Mice and Marginalization

    Authored By Michelle Kenney

    Under pressure from parents, a high school English teacher assigns a classic: Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Her students' reactions lead her to a deeper understanding of what's wrong with "the canon."

  • Features
  • Disabled Education

    Authored By Ruth Colker

    A legal advocate for people with disabilities realizes, through her own son's experiences, the inequities in access, diagnosis, and services for children with special needs.

  • Free Standing Up for Tocarra

    Authored By Tina Owen

    When a homophobic minister preaches about the "sin" of a transgender student at her funeral, a teacher leads her students to focus instead on the beautiful spirit of the young woman they loved.

  • Free The Mystery of the 3 Scary Numbers

    Authored By Bill Bigelow

    A classroom mixer prepares students to study "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math."

  • Teaching Palestine

    An interview with Palestinian educator Ziad Abbas

    Authored By Jody Sokolower

    Drawing on his experience growing up in a refugee camp in the West Bank and his work with youth, Abbas explores connections that bring Palestine to life for students in the United States.

  • Free Charter Schools and the Future of Public Education

    Authored By Stan Karp

    Charter schools began as educator-initiated, local efforts to provide alternative approaches to education. What role are they playing now? And what is the impact on public education?

  • Schools That Change Communities

    Reviewed By David Sobel

    Bob Gliner's film focuses on five schools in very different communities. Together, they provide a view of what is possible when education is grounded in civic engagement.

  • Rethinking Shit

    Excrement and equity

    Authored By Noah Zeichner

    A high school social studies teacher uses videos and frank discussion to lead students in a study of the sanitation crisis in poverty-stricken areas of the world, and the connection to global patterns of wealth and power.

  • Departments Free
  • Clear-Cutting Our Schools

    Authored By The Editors of Rethinking Schools
  • Action Education
  • Justice for Trayvon Martin

    Authored By Jody Sokolower
  • Good Stuff
  • The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos

    Reviewed By Grace Cornell Gonzales
  • Resources
  • Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice education resources.

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Disabled Education

Disabled Education

Robert Trujillo

I have been a legal advocate for individuals with disabilities since 1985, but until 2000 I had little experience with special education. I learned about special education while working as an advocate for my son, Sam, and soon realized the enormous disparities in the system on the basis of class and race. I hope that looking at those disparities will open up a discussion of ways we can better work together as a community of parents, teachers, and advocates on behalf of students with disabilities.

In 2008, a parent I will call Marilyn filed a due process complaint against the St. Bernard-Elmwood Place City School District in Hamilton County, Ohio, on behalf of her son, Kevin, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).1 Even though Marilyn received no legal help, she managed to navigate the special education system not merely to file a complaint but to request an expedited hearing.

The school district had identified Kevin as being emotionally disturbed and having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when he was in the 6th grade. Kevin had been taking medication to help moderate his behavior and reduce his symptoms, but he had stopped taking it for a period of time when his mother could not afford it. He also had a behavioral intervention plan to help him maintain appropriate behavior in the classroom. When the school district suspended and then expelled Kevin for violating school policies in 8th grade, his mother filed a complaint with the Ohio Department of Education to pressure the school to recognize that his misbehavior was a result of his disability. If the complaint could not be resolved amicably, a hearing officer would render a decision after a hearing.

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