Trust, common sense and wisdom… a student’s stress or distress

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA
5 min readFeb 7, 2023

Happy 2023. In the next set of Medium posts, I’ll share short, short vignettes — 13 of them — with the theme of TRUST, COMMON SENSE and even WISDOM — mostly in our education world.

TRUST — how to build it, how we need it, how to spot it and avoid distrust.

COMMON SENSE — we need to harness it — and not allow education policies to become so removed from reality that they can’t work for student competence and success.

With COMMON SENSE we can hope to even get to WISDOM.

Why short vignettes that I’ve gathered over the years? Because I believe they can bring some wisdom, a smile, common sense reality, a path forward — in our challenging education world. These gems come from my clients, colleagues, relatives, famous people whom I don’t know personally, passers-by. You get the picture.

I do believe that COMMON SENSE, WISDOM, and TRUST can help us create a path forward to improve schools for all students. And that — dear friends and colleagues — is always the goal.

CAVEAT: These short stories/vignettes are intended to be used for general information only. They are not provided as legal advice or other professional advice. In th event that legal advice is required, the services of an attorney should be sought.

Here’s the first one little story: Stress or distress? It takes place at a special education due process hearing.

​​It’s a story that my friend — a former special education director — reminded me of. It comes from my days, back in the 1980’s when I was a special education hearing officer for the state’s Department of Education. Many years later, I told this story at a conference that my friend attended.

The case before me was about an elementary school child with specific learning disabilities. Her parents were seeking a private placement for her for the next school year. The hearing was being held in June of the student’s fifth grade year.

The parents and their outside expert testified that the student was really struggling in school — distressed, they testified. She could not meet the challenges in school and she was not learning.


Not so, testified the child’s fifth grade teacher who testified on behalf of the school district. He knew the student well, as he had daily experiences with her. She



Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA, is a reformer, thought leader, lawyer, and author. Check out her book, Special Education 2.0 and her medicine bottle art!