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Wisconsin’s two candidates for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction are expected to participate in a March 1 candidate forum at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh focusing on special education policy.

Incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers and challenger State Rep. Don Pridemore are on the April 2 statewide ballot for the nonpartisan office. They have been invited to participate in the Friday, March 1 “Special Education: Policy and Priorities” forum, hosted by UW Oshkosh and its Department of Special Education and College of Education and Human Services and sponsored by an array of nonprofit organizations advancing the rights and quality of life of the disabled community.

The forum is free and open to the public. It will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in UW room 1214 of UW Oshkosh’s Sage Hall, 835 High Avenue. Parking will be available adjacent to Sage Hall, in lot 7 between it and Kolf Sports Center.

“The forum provides an opportunity for our campus and local communities to gain a greater understanding of issues affecting special education in the state of Wisconsin,” said UW Oshkosh COEHS Dean and forum moderator Fred Yeo. “It is also a natural segue into the annual Planting the Seeds of Inclusion conference the next day, which explores ways teachers, administrators, related service professionals and families can support and expand learning opportunities for children with disabilities.”

The forum’s other sponsors include: Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition; Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities; Disability Rights Wisconsin ;WI FACETS; Wisconsin Family Ties;  Quality Education Coalition; Survival Coalition and Wisconsin Reading Coalition.

“More and more people in the disability community are voting than ever before,” said Alicia Boehme of the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition. “Forums like this are an important component in helping members of the disability community evaluate candidates and make informed choices when they go to the polls.”

COEHS’s annual “Planting the Seeds of Inclusion: Supporting the Growth of All Children” conference is set for Saturday, March 2. The college’s departments of curriculum and instruction, reading, special education and educational leadership plan welcome a diverse and inclusive list of stakeholders to the annual conference.

Planting the Seeds of InclusionThis year’s conference keynote speaker is Dr. Cheryl Jorgensen, an inclusive education consultant in private practice who previously served as project director with the Institute on Disability (IOD) and as an assistant research professor at the University of New Hampshire Education Department. In recent years, her work has concentrated on “the restructuring of policies, organizational structures and teaching practices that naturally facilitate inclusion and learning for all students,” according to conference promotional materials.

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