Leonie put up a Dee Alpert We Will Miss You blog, including a link to a 2007 interview with Dee about how she first became involved in special education advocacy and is inviting people who knew her or her work to post comments.
Here is one of Dee's last posts. I think it captures the essence of Dee Alpert:
Report of the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness April 4, 2011 -
meetings/2011Meetings/ April2011/ RegentsTaskforceonTeacherandPr incipalEffectiveness.pdf
Above you will find a wonderful Regents document - to be considered at its meeting Mon. April 4 and Tues. April 5; uploaded to the Regents web site for public review on April 4. All 111 pages of it!
While there may well be many things wrong with this overly-lengthy document, one fatal flaw stands out: the word "parent" is absent from it. Apparently the fact that parents supply the children who make the NYS education go and pay the taxes to grease its wheels means nothing to these people.
NYSED and the Regents have gotten worse and worse in terms of: a) including parents in anything, and b) making materials available to the public in advance of Regents' actions on their contents since Merryl Tisch ascended to the throne of Chancellor of the Board of Regents. This trend, however, has even worsened more since David Steiner became Commissioner of Education.
With all due respect - and absolutely none is due - you all can argue fine points of policy, decimals in school appropriations and centimeters in co-location decisions until you're quite blue in the face and ... it won't mean one darn thing because what you think is of no concern to these people at all. You're supposed to give them your children ... and your tax dollars ... and shut up. Want more testing? Less testing? No testing? They don't care and unless something is done about this totally deplorable situation, don't have to. Talk about high-handed arrogance! Take a look at the rest of the meeting agenda items here: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/
meetings/2011Meetings/ April2011/411monthmat.html. New testing systems; new tests; new high school science lab requirements ... you name it, they're changing it ... without your input. Under some rock!
I think you all should pick up your phones first thing tomorrow morning and: call Andrew Cuomo's office and your state legislators (both of them!) and tell them that you're mad as hell and have no intention of taking it anymore. And that if every single thing on the Regents' agenda for this meeting isn't held up until their May meeting, and then only after the final version of each item has been publicly posted for at least 10 business days prior to the start of that meeting, and a similar procedure followed for every single agenda item at every single meeting thereafter, you'll pound on your legislators to vote against every single appropriation related to the NYS public education system again and again and again. And bullet vote against any legislator who doesn't go along with you (parents, the public) on this.
It's time to get it clear: all these people care about is money; all these people understand is money, and the only way to make them straighten up and fly right is to grab the strings to their money bag and pull 'em totally tight.