|All interviews were taped and documented. They are available through the Reference Department of the Teaneck Public Library. The Library is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements nor does it necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.|
Audio recording of the interview with Marilyn Arons
(Interviewed by June Kapell on 6/5/1985. Transcription: 40 pages)
Ms. Arons, who resides at Carlton Terrace with her husband and two children, came to Teaneck in 1976, because of her neurologically impaired daughter. She was told her child would benefit from the Teaneck Public School special education program (p.1). The narrator is a teacher by profession and holds a masters of education in neuro-science and education and a doctorate in learning disabilities. She also has a background in music, theater and liberal arts (p. 26; 30-34)
Ms. Arons is recognized nationally as an expert in the area of due process as pertains to disputes in special education, classifications and placements in the respective school districts. She has handled some 600 cases, losing only four. Never taking a law course and having absolutely no legal experience, Ms. Arons explains her success as having a "natural vent in law" (p.24) and claims to have "what is said the best reputation in the U.S. in terms of an understanding of special education law (p.25). Ms. Arons was president of the Special Education Association in Teaneck briefly (p. 4-7). She then organized another group of fifteen educators to publish an educational newsletter with a topical format (p.19-20). As a result of her newsletter receiving a "rave review" from the National Citizen's Committee for Education (p.21), the narrator was invited to give a workshop at the Third National Conference on Parent Involvement in San Antonio, Texas (p.21-22). Positive responses throughout the duration of the workshop resulted in the organization becoming national with subscribers in fifty states, and in various provinces of Canada and an island in the South Pacific. The Teaneck Parent Information Center, in its infancy, was voted the #1 model for replication across the U.S. (p.23); and from 1977 until 1980, they published ten issues a month, twelve pages per issue, and had an average circulation of 1,000 - 1,200. In 1981, the organization changed its charter and was now to focus only on special education, their role as advocates in the legal process and on starting their own school (p.26-28).
Ironically, Ms. Arons, who has been a life long public school teacher and an advocate of public education, has had negative personal encounters with the system as concerns her own daughter's special education needs and her son, on the opposite end of the spectrum, being gifted. Ms. Arons concludes that if you have a child at either end, the system is not geared to these types of children (p.15-18).