UPDATE: Memorial Service for Dee will be held Sunday, May 1 at 2:00 pm at:
Williams Memorial ResidenceIf you plan on attending, please RSVP to Susan@JoAnneSimon.com or call 718- 852-3528. If you cannot attend but would like to send your remembrance of Dee to be shared with others , please email them to Leslie Packer at admin[at]tourettesyndrome.net.
720 West End Avenue (between 95th St. and 96th St.)
New York City, NY.
For more info, check out Leslie's blog.
More remembrances of Dee at the WSJ, Edweek, Gotham Schools, and on the Tourette Syndrome blog. Her reach was wide indeed. If anyone knows a good home for her cats, please email her son at Mikeappell@gmail.com.
On Saturday night, parents, teachers, and other members of the NYC Ed list serve received the sad news that Dee Alpert, the Special Education muckraker, columnist for EducationNews.org and a valued member of our community, had suddenly passed away. See below note from her friend Jo Anne Simon. Here is a 2007 interview with Dee, detailing how she became involved with the issue of students with disabilities and the failure of the school system to adequately address their needs.
Dear friends and colleagues:
I write with a heavy heart about sad news. My friend and our special education muckraker, Dee Alpert, has passed away. According to her son, Michael, a neighbor found her yesterday afternoon. Michael called me around 6. He has called some of her closer friends since then, but I know that many people knew Dee through varying list serves and her muckraker email list and so I am helping him get the word out. I know Dee was on several list servs that I wasn't. Please help by informing folks that you know would want to know.
According to the medical examiner, the cause of death was a cerebral aneurysm. Mike has indicated that she will be cremated. He plans to hold a memorial service of some sort in the coming weeks, although there are no firm plans for that yet. Mike can be reached at Mikeappell@gmail.com
Jo Anne Simon, P.C.
I was shocked and saddened to learn of your mother's death. I always admired her fierce integrity, her keen intellect, and her great love for children. I know how proud and devoted she was to her own children.
My condolences, Diane Ravitch
New to this fight, I have been consistently amazed by Dee's vast knowledge, intellectual prowess, application of logic, but most of all her deep and palpable passion for children with special needs of all sorts. Not knowing me at all, she took time out of her life recently to communicate with me off-line about my son.
I never met Dee and only had a few conversations with her but her depth of knowledge and her analysis of the issues (no matter whether you agreed or disagreed with her), along with a no-holds bar approach, made an impression on everyone on this listserve. Her no-nonsense approach and her ability to zero in on the essence of an issue was unparalleled along with her knowledge of institutional historical context. One particular area of Dee's expertise was the corrupt state education department - and if you didn't start out thinking they were corrupt, it didn't take Dee long to convince you. I used to forward some of her posts to a contact at the DOE and the comment on hearing the news was, "Sorry to hear this sad news-This was a brilliant woman."
Norm Scott, Education Notes
Sigh. My condolences to her family and close friends.
Respectfully, Wilma de Soto, Philadelphia ESL teacher
Sad news indeed.
Jonathan Halabi, NYC teacher and blogger
Dear Michael Appell,
"There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors....[from "Sources" by Adrienne Rich, 1983]
Dee was, indeed, a warrior (especially on behalf of children with disabilities and their families) and I am grateful to have learned much and been challenged so much by her.
Patricia Connelly, NYC parent and special education advocate