Education Advocate Runs For School Board

Should An Education Advocate Run For The School Board?

There have been several cases where a person with special education advocacy experience has run for the school board. There was, of course, hue and cry on both sides of the issue any time it presented itself.

Some people were afraid that the advocate would favor special education students and bankrupt the district. It is not unusual for people to think that everything related to special education is exceedingly expensive when there are many things related to special education that have minimal cost over time. There are many accommodations and modifications that have no cost associated with them at all. Others felt that someone with special education advocacy experience could provide a positive step in the right direction for the entire school district.

When considering an issue like this - facts about special education and the number of children who need services and the types of services becomes critical. According to the Department of Education (DOE)15% of the school population is classified as special education. That number can vary depending on the specific school district and the demographic served. In the United States, approximately 15-20% of public-school students receive special education services.


The foundation of every state is

the education of its youth.


Schools are required by law to provide FAPE, a Free Appropriate Public Education. Please note the operative word here is appropriate. While there are costs associated with providing special education services, it is important to note that there are also legal and ethical obligations to provide these services to students who need them to access the same educational opportunities as their peers.



So are there any advantage to having a special education advocate be a school board member?  There are several strategies that could be used to decrease the cost of the school's special education budget:

  1. Implement early intervention programs: Early intervention programs can help identify students who may need special education services earlier, which can help prevent more severe problems later. This can ultimately decrease the number of students who need expensive services and supports.
  2. Increase teacher training: Providing ongoing professional development opportunities for teachers can help them better support students with special needs in their classrooms, which can decrease the need for expensive one-on-one support or specialized programs.
  3. Use research-based practices: Using research-based practices in special education can help improve outcomes for students while also reducing costs. Research has shown that practices such as positive behavior supports and inclusive education can lead to better academic and social outcomes for students with special needs.
  4. Foster partnerships with community organizations: Partnering with community organizations, such as local hospitals or nonprofits, can provide additional resources and support for students with special needs. This can help reduce the burden on the school's budget while also providing more comprehensive services for students.
  5. Review and streamline processes: Reviewing the special education processes and systems in place can help identify areas where costs can be reduced without compromising the quality of services provided. This may include looking at the procurement of materials or equipment, transportation costs, or administrative processes.

Overall, by implementing these strategies, a school board member who is a special education advocate can work towards decreasing the cost of the school's special education budget while still providing high-quality services and supports for students with special needs.



A school board member who is a special education advocate can bring a unique perspective and understanding to the board's decision-making processes. Here are some reasons why a school board member should be a special education advocate:

  1. Inclusivity: Special education students are an integral part of the school community, and it is essential that their needs are adequately addressed. A board member who is a special education advocate can ensure that the needs of these students are not overlooked or minimized.
  2. Expertise: Special education requires specialized knowledge and expertise. A board member who is a special education advocate will have a better understanding of the laws, regulations, and best practices related to special education. This knowledge will help the board make informed decisions that will benefit ALL students.
  3. Advocacy: Special education students and their families often face unique challenges, such as navigating complex bureaucracies and accessing necessary resources. A board member who is a special education advocate can serve as a liaison between the school and the special education community and ensure that these students receive the support they need.
  4. Equity: Students with disabilities are often at a disadvantage in the education system, and they may face barriers that other students do not. A board member who is a special education advocate can ensure that these students receive equitable treatment and that their needs are not overlooked or marginalized.

Overall, having a school board member who is a special education advocate can help ensure that all students receive the education they deserve, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.



It is especially important for a school board member to be a special education advocate because they play a crucial role in shaping the policies and practices that affect students with disabilities in their district. Special education advocates on the school board can bring a unique perspective and understanding of the needs of students with disabilities and their families, and can advocate for policies and practices that ensure that these students receive the support and services they need to succeed in school.

Furthermore, students with disabilities often face significant barriers to accessing a quality education, including discrimination, lack of resources, and inadequate support services. A school board member who is a special education advocate can help ensure that the district is providing appropriate resources and support services for students with disabilities, and can work to address any issues or concerns that arise.

In addition, a school board member who is a special education advocate can help to promote inclusion and create a more welcoming and supportive school environment for all students. By championing the rights of students with disabilities, they can help to create a culture of acceptance and understanding that benefits all members of the community.

Overall, having a school board member who is a special education advocate can have a significant impact on the lives of students with disabilities in a community, and can help to ensure that they receive the education and support they need to reach their full potential.



Arthur Fletcher



The disadvantage of having a school board member who is NOT a special education advocate is that they may not have the knowledge or experience necessary to make informed decisions about special education policies and programs. This can result in inadequate support for students with disabilities, which can negatively impact their academic progress and overall well-being.

In terms of the school budget, a lack of understanding of special education needs can lead to inadequate funding for necessary resources and services, which can result in higher costs down the line. For example, if a school does not provide appropriate support to students with disabilities, they may require more intensive services or legal action, which can be costly.

In addition, a lack of advocacy for special education can negatively affect other students in the school system. If resources are not allocated properly to support students with disabilities, it can create an unequal learning environment for all students.

Finally, a lack of understanding of special education laws and policies can result in more due process cases. Due process cases occur when parents and schools disagree on the education plan for a student with disabilities. These cases can be costly and time-consuming and may have a negative impact on the student's education.

The bottom line is that it is important for school board members, no matter their background or experience, to be knowledgeable about special education and advocate for the needs of all students in the school system.


NSEAI's online courses efficiently lead parents and professionals to an expert level of education advocacy in just 12 days of on-demand courses that you can do at your convenience.









Marie Lewis is an author, consultant, and national speaker on best practices in education advocacy. She is a parent of 3 children and a Disability Case Manager, Board Certified Education Advocate, and Behavior Specialist Consultant. She has assisted in the development of thousands of IEPs nationally and consults on developing appropriately individualized IEPs that are outcome-based vs legally sufficient. She brings a great depth of expertise, practical experience, and compassion to her work as well as expert insight, vision, and systemic thinking. She is passionate and funny and she always inspires and informs.


MJ Gore has an MEd in counseling and a degree in elementary education and natural sciences. She worked as a life-skills and learning support teacher She has been honored with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the Director and on the faculty at the National Special Education Advocacy Institute. Her passion is social justice, especially in the area of education. She is a Board Certified Education Advocate who teaches professional advocates, educators, and clinicians the best practices in education advocacy.

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