"Raising Expectations: A Disability Framework for Education Reform"
March 26-27, 2012
On March 26-27, 2012, NCD hosted an Experts Symposium – "Raising Expectations: A Disability Framework for Education Reform" – in Orlando, FL, which brought together approximately thirty experts from the general education and special education arenas. Education reform is a topic that inspires debate, passion, and controversy, but far too often, there have been too few discussions about how major shifts in public education are impacting students with disabilities. For this reason, NCD brought together leading thinkers in education (both general and special education) to talk about how some of today's hottest topics in education impact students with disabilities. Participants came from twelve states and represented a variety of perspectives based on personal and professional experiences, that greatly enriched the discussions that unfolded. Several were or are general education or special education teachers; principals; school superintendents; parents of students with disabilities; academics and researchers; assessment developers; think thanks; state departments of education; and school board members. The Council of State Governments, the Parent Teacher Association, and the U.S. Department of Education were also represented.
Each expert participant was a part of a working group that dove deeply into particular aspects of education reform and worked through a series of discussion prompts, the results of which are intended to shape the development of a policy toolkit that NCD will create for use by State Departments of Education, legislatures, and local school districts to assist in the evaluation of how education reforms many states are considering adopting may positively or negatively impact students with disabilities. The three working groups included: common core and access to the general curriculum; vouchers and charter schools; and graduation outcomes and assessment tools.
Following the conclusion of the Experts Symposium, NCD hosted an hour-long stakeholder town hall at the same location to create an additional opportunity to receive timely input from its diverse stakeholders in the area.