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Schools That Separate the Child From the Trauma


November 13, 2013

By David Bornstein

Recently, I reported on the damaging effects that prolonged stress can have on young children who lack adequate protection from adults. Over the past 15 years, researchers have learned that highly stressful - and potentially traumatic - childhood experiences are more prevalent than previously understood. Read more

Overcoming Hurdles to a Child's Success


October 2, 2012

To the Editor

Re “The Psych Approach” (column, Sept. 28): Thanks to David Brooks for calling attention to the effect that trauma can have on children. Understanding that adverse childhood experiences can lead to a cascade of social, cognitive and emotional problems, high-risk behavior and ultimately early death is the first step in addressing them. Read more

New Mass. law gives expelled students more options


August 10, 2012

By Shannon Young

BOSTON-Students who are suspended or expelled from Massachusetts schools will soon have more educational options, under a new state law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick.

Beginning in July 2014, school districts will have to provide expelled and suspended students with education opportunities, like alternative schools, tutoring or Internet learning modules. Each district will determine the options it will offer. Read more

Trauma-Sensitive Schools Are Better Schools


June 26, 2012

By Jane Ellen Stevens

The first time that principal Jim Sporleder tried the New Approach to Student Discipline at
Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, he was blown away. Because it worked. In fact, it
worked so well that he never went back to the Old Approach to Student Discipline. Read more

Part two of the article can be read HERE

Study shows autism rates are on the rise


April 8, 2012

By David Riley

The Bay State must prepare to support a burgeoning population of people with autism who will need services well into adulthood, advocates said on the heels of a report that found more and more children have the disorder. Read more

Officials May Reopen Dorchester School


February 1, 2012

By James Vaznis

The Boston School Committee will weigh a proposal tonight to temporarily reopen a Dorchester elementary school that it closed less than a year ago, in order to accommodate a sudden influx of preschoolers who require special education immediately. Read more

Racial Disparity in School Discipline in Massachusetts

IWATCH news (Center for Public Integrity)

January 29, 2012

By Beverly Ford

A good student with no disciplinary record, Sonia Vivas was on track to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer when an encounter with two other teens sent her life into a tailspin. Accused of stealing a cell phone and pulling a knife on a student, the 14-year-old eighth grader was tossed out of school in 2007 with little more than a cursory hearing after the mother of one of the girls, both white, complained her daughter felt threatened. Read more

Special-ed Advocates Sue Schools Over Placement


January 3, 2012

By Stephanie Ebbert

Even as it prepares to open five new classrooms for special education students this week, the Boston public school system is facing a class-action lawsuit in federal court asserting that the district routinely violates state and federal law by delaying evaluations and classroom placements for preschoolers with special needs. Read more

Boston Careful in School-assignment Overhaul


December 31, 2011

By James Vaznis

Last in a series of occasional articles.

Superintendent Carol R. Johnson and the Boston School Committee are treading cautiously as they weigh how to overhaul the way students are assigned to schools, a hot-button issue that has polarized parents, community activists, and political leaders in the past. Read more

Any Plan That Ignores Inequity is Unacceptable

THE BOSTON GLOBE (Letter to the Editor)

December 23, 2011

By Kim Janey

A FRONT-PAGE article on Dec. 12 pointed out the “quilt of inequity’’ among Boston schools, but your editorials about the school assignment system ignore these inequities, suggesting that the most pressing problem is busing ( “School-assignment plan — a relic in need of a full overhaul,’’ Dec. 13; “Let students stay near homes — but offer choice as needed,’’ Dec. 14). Read more

Inequities Among Boston's Schools


December 12, 2011

By James Vaznis

The Perkins Elementary School in South Boston is barely visible behind rows of nondescript brick buildings inside the Old Colony public housing development. Students make do without the most basic amenities, eating breakfast and lunch at their desks, taking gym classes at a Boys & Girls Club, and checking out books at a neighborhood library. Read more

Students Testify Before Education Committee to Garner Support for Safe Schools


November 15, 2011

By Elaine McArdle

Two weeks ago, eight Harvard Law School students in the HLS Education Law Clinic of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) spent a full day at the Massachusetts State House, testifying before the Joint Committee on Education and lobbying legislators to garner support for legislation proposed by the Clinic to create safe and supportive school environments. Read more

Sannicandro Wins Mass Advocates' Legislator of the Year


November 8, 2011

By Susan Petroni

State Rep. Tom Sannicandro, who represents part of Framingham, was awarded the Legislator of the Year award at the Massachusetts Advocates for Children annual celebration Thursday for his pioneering work on behalf of people with disabilities in his seven years in office. Read more

Council Candidates Push Anti-Busing Agenda


October 27, 2011

By Yawu Miller

Boston’s battle over court-ordered school desegregation has spanned more than four decades. And if this year’s City Council election is any indication, the battle is still on.

Anti-busing sentiment has been an undercurrent in this year’s race with all four white candidates publicly supporting a return to neighborhood schools. At a candidate forum last week, sponsored by wards 10, 11, 12 and 19 and attended largely by white liberals and people of color, there was little mention of ending busing, save for Jamaica Plain resident and former Libertarian Sean Ryan’s call for neighborhood schools and charter schools. Read more

The Test Ahead


October 9, 2011

By Jon Marcus

Following the trail of exploding special education costs, from the high-tech cradle to the groundbreaking classroom, reveals that more students than ever are going to need help. Here's how the state's public schools are getting ready. Read more

Advocate: Lawrence schools should spend more on autistic students


August 19, 2011

By Mark E. Vogler

LAWRENCE — A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Advocates for Children told the School Committee last night that it needs to spend at least $100,000 more to improve services for students with autism.

"Lawrence is at a crossroads," Leslie Hughes told the committee. She urged a $100,000 increase in the current budget to maintain the quality of educational services for about 80 autistic students in the city school system. Read more

Newton Resident advocating for changes in special ed law


July 14, 2011

By Chloe Gotsis

When he’s not taking classes at MassBay, working at one of his three jobs or volunteering, Brian Heffernan is making sure that other young people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities get the same opportunities he’s had.

Most recently, Heffernan, 20, of Newton, has been advocating for a bill at the State House that would change the special education licensing requirements to provide optional advanced training for teachers who want to focus on transitioning children with intellectual disabilities into the competitive work force. Newton resident Julia Landau, senior project manager for the advocacy group Massachusetts Advocates for Children, said the bill would allow more children with intellectual disabilities like Down syndrome and autism to become productive members in their communities. Read more

Petitioning the Governor

BOSTON GLOBE (Metro Section)

June 22, 2011

Photo courtesy Pat Greenhouse/ Globe Staff

Young people with disabilities were among 100 people who delivered a petition to Governor Deval Patrick at the State House yesterday in support of legislation that would help students with disabilities make the transition to post-secondary education, jobs, and independent living situations. Read more

State gives green light to 16 charter school plans

10 sites slated for Hub within next two years


Mar. 1, 2011

By Akilah Johnson / Globe Staff

The state Board of Education added 16 charter schools to Massachusetts’ array of publicly funded, privately run campuses yesterday despite objections from advocates who fear that special education students and English-language learners’ groups will be further marginalized in charter classrooms. Read more

A gap to fill in special education


Feb. 4, 2011

By Jerry Mogul

RE “STEEP cuts in Patrick’s budget plan’’ (Page A1, Jan. 27): The “winners and losers’’ sidebar to the story announcing the governor’s budget stated that there is more money for special education, but it doesn’t tell the whole story, and is thus somewhat misleading.

It is true that the governor’s budget increased the special education “circuit breaker’’ account by $80 million, and for that we and the disability community are grateful. However, the bigger picture is that the state recently cut special education funding by an even larger amount, $97 million, in response to federal stimulus funds earmarked for special education. Since those stimulus funds will largely be gone in the upcoming budget cycle, in order to restore state special education back to the pre-stimulus level, the state will have to increase its allocation by $97 million. The governor’s budget is a strong step in that direction.

Jerry Mogul

Executive Director

Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Boston

Superintendent needs to engage larger community


Dec. 8, 2010

By John Mudd

IMPROVING BOSTON schools requires creative reform plans that genuinely engage the active support of parents, teachers, students, and community leaders, not simply telling the superintendent to be decisive in implementing her decisions at all costs (“Boston schools chief must offer a good plan — then stick by it,’’ Editorial, Dec. 1). There must be major structural changes that involve closing schools, revising the teachers’ contract, changing academic strategies, and reassessing student assignment and transportation policies. But the plans must be developed with the community, not just thrown at it. (Read more)

Charters, Public Schools Develop A New, Tenuous Relationship

Dec. 7, 2010

By Bianca Vazquez Toness / WBUR Staff

BOSTON — The number of charter school students in the city of Boston is expected to double in the coming years, from 5,000 to 10,000. Many of those students will likely leave traditional schools in the city for these new options. With them they’ll take millions of dollars in public funding.

Parents will get a chance to sound off on proposals for new charter schools at a public hearing Tuesday night. Regardless of who makes the cut, the relationship between traditional and charter schools is changing. And it’s not clear how much they should collaborate. (Read more)

Parents need to see commitment to special needs


Nov. 12, 2010

By Jerry Mogul

THE NOV. 5 editorial “Serve students of all abilities’’ acknowledges that charter schools can artificially boost their MCAS scores by using the safety valve of the local school district to return students who are challenged by the schools’ academic and disciplinary requirements. The editorial also recognizes that charter schools must be able to educate and serve most children with disabilities. (Read more)

Parents, Students and Advocates Take Their Fight for School Reform to The Steps of the Boston School Department


Aug. 31, 2010

By James Vaznis / Globe Staff

With the clock winding down on the final hours of the Boston Teachers’ Union (BTU) contract today, the groundswell for fundamental change in the Boston Public School System will grow significantly larger as the grassroots coalition, Boston United for Students, rallies on the steps of the Boston School Department Headquarters at 26 Court Street. (Read more)

Virtual Schools need tight rein


July 24, 2010

By Jerry Mogul

KUDOS TO the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for
proposing restrictions on virtual schools through revised regulations (“State
panel wants to set limits on virtual public schools,’’ Metro, July 20).
Unfortunately, these regulations don’t go far enough. (Read more)

MAC's Senior Project Director letter in The Wellesley Townman

Letter: Creem has been a leader in special education
By Staff reports. GateHouse News Service
Posted Apr. 19, 2010

Wellesley — Massachusetts Advocates for Children has found Sen. Cynthia Creem to be a leader who has worked consistently and tirelessly on behalf of the education needs of all children.

(Read more)

Letters to the editor by MAC's Senior Project Directors in the Boston Globe

Kids with autism are especially vulnerable
Nov. 22, 2009

CHILDREN WITH autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, are bullied at astonishing rates in schools across the Commonwealth. (Read more)

Zero-tolerance policies can turn students into dropouts
Nov. 21, 2009

YOUR NOV. 15 editorial “Raise dropout age to 18’’ cites favorably the recent report by the legislative commission on dropouts in Massachusetts. (Read more)

MAC's Senior Project Director quoted in article

Anti-Bullying Efforts Gain in Mass.
Families of School Bullying Victims Say Internet Makes Harassment Easier
Nov. 17, 2009

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, 11, bequeathed his worldly possessions -- his Pokemon cards -- to his little brother before he picked up an extension cord, wrapped it around his neck and hanged himself last April. His mom, Sirdeaner Walker, said Carl was a victim of bullying at school. Derogatory labels regarding sexual orientation torment kids across the country."The only time I could not protect my son was between the hours of eight and three," said Walker. "He was supposed to be safe at school." (Read more)

MAC's Bullying Report

Survey: Bullies prey on autistic kids
By Laura Crimaldi (Boston Herald columnist)
Friday, November 13, 2009

A shocking new online survey has found that nearly 90 percent of autistic children in the Bay State have been targeted by bullying so violent and ruthless that a state lawmaker says teachers and school systems must be held accountable. The survey conducted by the Massachusetts Advocates for Children ...(Read more)

DOWNLOAD MAC's Bullying Report

MAC’s Executive Director's OP-ed on the state of Public Education today.

November 8, 2009

Jerry Mogul, MAC's executive director, wrote an op-ed piece on public education's "changing face" as a result of MAC's advocacy 40 years ago and the on-going challenges faced by public education today.

The op-ed piece was featured in three on-line news forums: The MetroWest Daily News; The Daily News Tribune and the Milford Daily News.

MAC invited to an on-field presentation by the Boston Red Sox

August 12th, 2009

Fenway Park - The Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) was invited on field for an award recognition by the Red Sox Foundation. The Red Sox Foundation is supporting MAC's 40th Anniversary Dinner honoring Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Martha Minow and Marian Wright Edelman on November 13th, 2009.

IMAGE: Click here for image of the event.

VIDEO: Click here for a video of the on field presentation.


MAC's Partnership with DLA Piper featured in the Bay State Banner

July 9th, 2009

Click here for printable articleNestled in the bustle of Downtown Crossing resides the officesof Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC), a small advocacy group dedicated to helping disadvantaged children. With more than 800 phone calls for help coming into the office each year, the nonprofit and its staff of 16 has been overwhelmed by the amount of Massachusetts families in need. More>>

MAC's Senior Project Director interviewed by The Washington Post

July 6th, 2009

Washington Post In June 2009, the Supreme Court found that parents of children with disabilities may seek reimbursement for private school tuition even if the child has never received special education or related services from the school district. The Supreme Court ruling has left lots of questions for parents of special education students as to how the law affects them. To answer those questions, the Washington Post interviewed MAC's Senior Project Director, Susan Cole to garner feedback about this very important issue. Click here for the to be directed to the article

MAC in Education Week

June 19th, 2009

ED WEEK As a result of the press release sent out by DLA Piper on the signature project launch, National Education Week reporter, Christina Samuels, picked up the story and wrote a piece for her blog. Click the Education Week icon and scroll to the June 19th blog entry.

MAC featured on BPS School Assignment Plan

June 4th, 2009

WBUR Kim Janey, Deputy Director of the Boston School Reform Initiative at MAC along with Myriam Ortiz (new Executive Director of BPON) as members of Community Partners with the New Superintendent, wrote an Op Ed piece in the Globe critiquing the Superintendent’s plan for changing student assignment and transportation zones.
Kim was also quoted in a WBUR article with radio coverage on this same school choice issue.

Boston Globe related article

MAC chosen as DLA Piper's "Signature Project"

May 28th, 2009

DLA PiperMAC/CLSP has been approved by DLA Piper as its “signature project” for the law firm. The project was officially “launched” on
May 28th, 2009
 and featured MAC's Founder Hubie Jones as the guest speaker along with Senior Partners of the DLA Piper Law firm. The project will provide pro bono legal assistance on many of MAC’s special education cases and projects.
Click here to see pictures from this event!

Click here to read the DLA Piper press release

MAC Project Coordinator Honored

April 6th, 2009

Johanne Pino On April 6th, 2009 MAC's project coordinator, Johanne Pino received the Distinguished Citizen's Award from the Arc of Massachusetts for her outstanding dedication to expanding educational opportunities for children with disabilities. The award ceremony took place in the Great Hall of Flags at the State House. Congratulations Johanne!

Partnership with MAC and Harvard Law School's Wilmer Hale Legal Services Center

January 26th, 2009

WilmerHale Legal Services Center A partnership between MAC and the Harvard Law School’s WilmerHale Legal Services Center, highlights growing evidence that trauma resulting from family violence and other overwhelming stress can have neurobiological effects on a child’s learning and behavior in the classroom. (Read more by clicking here)


For 40 years, MAC has responded to the needs of children who are vulnerable because of poverty, race, limited English or disability and does not intend to stop. With education reform continuing to occupy a high priority on the state’s policy agenda, and with the severe economic crisis facing Massachusetts families, MAC is needed now, more than ever.

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