Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education

MAASE is a statewide professional educational organization affiliated with the National Council of Administrators of Special Education and the Council for Exceptional Children. MAASE members are dedicated to the enhancement of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of each individual in society.

Those who receive special education services are individuals who possess basic rights and responsibilities, and who command respect at all times. Special education embraces the right to a free appropriate public education.

The Mission of MAASE is to provide leadership for the development and implementation of quality programs and services for students with disabilities within the total education community.

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Four Focus Areas

President's Corner

MAASE President Andrew Claes
Andrew Claes

August 22, 2017

Welcome to another school year, another year with MAASE and another year of leadership and learning.  Another opportunity to Actively Engage in professional learning with your colleagues.  

As a member of MAASE, The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is our parent organization and the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) is our national affiliate.  Our partnership with CEC and CASE is strong and allows for action on a State and National level, that we may not have otherwise.  By engaging with our partners we are able to accomplish much more than we would alone.  If you are not a member of MAASE, CEC, and CASE, I want to encourage a unified membership in all three.  

CEC is also our connection to our Senator and Representatives in Washington DC.  This year we had many individuals from Michigan actively engaged in the legislative process in DC.    Through continued active engagement, MAASE members have been influential in their advocacy efforts.  This year we were able to promote three key items:  

    • keeping public funds in public education,

    • the importance of Medicaid funds for support of our special education students and

    • the promise of full funding for IDEA.  

While in Washington DC, I was so inspired and overwhelmed by the history and the ideals that our country has been built upon.   For me, this particular event offered an opportunity to reflect upon those founding principles and how these ideals intersect with our educational system and special education.   Visiting, reading and reflecting at these monuments was my attempt to remain engaged throughout my time in DC.   

I was most impressed by the Jefferson Memorial and particularly his words etched in stone; speaking  to change, learning, and vision:  “I am not an advocate for frequent change in laws and constitutions.  But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the process of the human mind.  As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy,   as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”  

Here again, we are reminded of our obligation to actively engage, to learn, grow and change.

Aside the memorial to Dr. King, his words are inscribed in stone. These, coming from his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize on October 10, 1964:  “I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”   

Once again, and just across the water from the Jefferson Memorial,  the principles of education and equality  are emphasized.  We are called to actively engage, as Martin Luther King Jr. did in the struggle for civil rights.  

Not far away at the Roosevelt Monument, I was reminded again.  The words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from  his second inaugural address on January 20, 1937.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”  

Ever further back in our history, these ideals were recognized by our Native American brothers and sisters.  At the National Museum of the American Indian,the Anishinaabe speak of the bear as a symbol of courage.  They say the bear represents more than power and fearlessness, but moral courage to do what is right.  The courage of the bear also represents the responsibility to care for families and one another.   

Then I had the opportunity to stand outside the White House.  And I am reminded how the men and women who have walked those halls have a duty to honor and uphold these ideals.  How they have a responsibility to us, and we to them.  

I believe, we are called to actively engage, as citizens, to adhere to these principles, to advance these ideals, to speak with the moral courage of the bear, to hold one another accountable to these principles, and support one another in attaining them.   To engage, often times, in small ways, in our classrooms, our schools, with our colleagues, and at these conferences,   with MAASE, and CASE, and CEC. To engage with other members, to seek out our newest members, and to connect with our experienced members.  I want to challenge you to actively engage in your own way.

I hope you all enter a new school year with a renewed commitment and energy to the service of our students.

  • CASE
  • Idea Partnership
  • Michigan Special Education Reference
  • Special Ed Connection
  • Idea Partnership