News and Alerts
For information about dozens of subjects, from Autism
and Advocacy to IEPs
and Section 504, please
visit our Topics pages.
with Pete Wright: 'Kids are...Teaching-disabled' - Parents of special education
students know of Pete Wright. They know he once represented a South Carolina special
education student whose parents wanted the school district to reimburse them for
her private school tuition. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled
in favor of the family. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked to Wright, who
lives in Virginia, about teaching kids to read, how to keep Individualized Education
Program meetings from going sour and why parents shouldn't resist standardized
of Proof on Schools? Private School Scholarships for Children with Disabilities?
- Pete testifies before the Education and Health Committee of the Virginia Senate
in support of Senate Bill 241 to amend the state statute and place the burden
of proof on school districts. (01/26/06)
U. S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Expert Witness Case, Arlington v. Murphy
- In a case that has enormous implications for educational consultants, evaluators,
advocates, and expert witnesses, the Court will decide whether parents who prevail
in special education litigation may be reimbursed for the costs of their experts.
and Pam Wright Recipients of Sinclair Award from Haberman Foundation - "Pete
and Pam Wright have done more for parents of special needs children than anyone
in the last five years. Their publications, presentations, workshops, newsletters
and materials have assisted parents in navigating the Special Education maze."
Wright is Guest on NPR's Justice Talking - As a guest on NPR's Justice
Talking, the weekly public radio program on legal issues and public policy,
the moderator asked, "Whose job is it to educate students with special needs?"
U. S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Schaffer v. Weast -
Pete Wright shares his notes about questions from the Justices and offers observations
and impressions of oral argument in the burden of proof case. (10/8/05)
with Disabilities Education Act - Burden of Proof - On Parents or Schools?
The National Council on Disability (NCD) published
Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools? The NCD
asserts that school districts, not parents, should have the burden of proof in
issues about IEPs, placement, eligibility, and other matters related to an appropriate
education. The author of this Position Paper is Pete Wright. (8/9/05)
Judge Approves Record $6.7 Million Settlement in Special Ed Case
Beach Unified School District and the California Department of Education agreed
to pay more than $6.7 million to a child with a disability and his
parents for failing to appropriately educate him for more than five years. (8/9/05)
S. Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Schaffer v. Weast on October
5 - The
Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Schaffer
v. Weast on Wednesday, October 5. The high
courts decision about who bears the burden of proof in IEP disputes is of
enormous importance, and may shift the balance of power in IEP meetings and due
process hearings. (7/22/05)
Offer on Wrightslaw: IDEA-2004 - Wrightslaw:
IDEA 2004 is available now. People who order the E-book
& Print Combo between Tuesday, June 28 and Friday, July 15 will
receive a "$10 Off Coupon" that may be applied to the purchase of Wrightslaw:
Special Education Law, 2nd Edition. (June 28, 2005)
IDEA Regulations Reformatted, Available from Wrightslaw - The proposed special
education regulations issued by the Dept of Education on June 10 were 652 pages
long. To make the regulations more accessible and easier to read and understand,
we reformatted this document into two shorter files: Proposed
IDEA Regulations (97 pages) and Explanations
& Commentary (65 pages).
Dept of Ed Issues Draft of Proposed Regulations - Dr. Troy Justesen, acting
director of the Office of Special Education Programs, announced that a draft of
the proposed regulations to implement IDEA is available to the public. The first
public meeting is scheduled for Nashville on June 17 (schedule
of public meetings) (6/10/05)
2004: Schedule of Public Meetings - U. S. Dept of Ed announced schedule of
public meetings in 7 cities after IDEA 2004 regulations are published in June.
The purpose of these meetings is to get input on the proposed regulations. (6/1/05)
2004: Regulations on Fast Track, Expected in Early June - Troy Justesen, Acting
Director of the Office of Special Education Programs, expects the proposed regulations
for Part B of IDEA to be available in early June. (5/18/05)
of Ed Bows to Pressure, Offers "Flexibility" in Educating Students with
Dept. of Education offered "a new commonsense approach" of "flexibility"
that do not meet accountability standards for another 2 percent of students
with disabilities. (5/20/05)
Brief Filed in Schaffer v. Weast -
An amicus brief was filed on behalf of the ARC, the Autism Society
of America, the Epilepsy Foundation, NAMI, United Cerebral Palsy, and the National
Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in
Schaffer v. Weast. (4/29/05)
2004: Draft Regulations, Schedule of Public Meetings for Comment on IDEA 2004
- The Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates answers reader's questions about
IDEA implementation issues. (04/07/05)
Tale of Two Advocates: Rulings on Unauthorized Practice of Law
- New decision in unauthorized practice of law (UPL) case; how
other cases have been decided; why this case is significant.
Court Agrees to Hear Burden of Proof Case! The
Supreme Court agreed to hear Brian Schaffer's appeal of an adverse decision from
the Fourth Circuit that assigned the burden of proof to the party that initiates
a due process hearing. (2/22/05)
- Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates to Hold Annual Conference in Atlanta,
March 10-13, 2005. This conference provides unique opportunities for training
and networking with the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys and advocates.
Get the program schedule, learn about the speakers, register. (2/18/05)
Due Process Wins Award of Excellence. Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers
v. School Board won an an 'Award of Excellence' from the Aegis Awards. Surviving
Due Process was directed and filmed by V.A.V.S.
Video Productions, a team of specialists in producing educational video programs.
Signs Reauthorized IDEA - On December 3, 2004, the President signed the reauthorized
IDEA into law. The signing ceremony was attended by members of Congress and officials
from the Department of Education. (12/3/04)
Conference Committee Votes on IDEA Reauthorization:
The Inside Story.
17, 2004, the House-Senate Conference Committee met and voted to accept the Conference
Report and reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004.
Schedules Meeting to Reauthorize IDEA on November 17, 2004. The Committee
on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives issued a Media
Release to announce a meeting on November
17 to finalize the bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Publish Inaccurate Data on Graduation Rates for Disabled Students. Less than
40% of students with IEPs who stopped attending school in 2002-2003 did so because
they graduated with a diploma or certificate. (10/12/04)
on IDEA Reauthorization Begin. The Senate and House of Representatives agreed
to meet in conference to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act; Senate names conferees. (09/24/04)
Reached in Alaska High-Stakes Testing Lawsuit. The parties in the Alaska high-stakes
test lawsuit reached a settlement; alternative tests will be devised and more
accommodations will be accepted. (08/2/04)
Action Lawsuit Filed in NYC. A
class action lawsuit filed by Advocates
for Children charges that children with special education needs are being
suspended, expelled, transferred, discharged, and removed from NYC schools, not
receiving FAPE, not being advised of their rights. (07/30/04)
Passes Bill to Reauthorize IDEA by 95-3 Vote.
Outcome of Senate bill to reauthorize IDEA, full funding compromise, House-Senate
conference committee will meet to develop compromise bill.
Court Upholds One Million Dollar Verdict for Fired Special Ed Teacher. U.
S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the jury verdict, reinstated
one million dollar award to Pamella Settlegoode; decision clarifies freedom of
speech issues for teachers.
Students with Disabilities Can Graduate Without Passing Exit Exam. Agreement
between parties in class action lawsuit allows students to graduate in 2004. (04/07/04)
with Disabilities Under No Child Left Behind: Myths & Realities. The National
Association of Protection & Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) attacks myths about what
NCLB and IDEA require for children with disabilities. Also available
in pdf. (03/28/04)
Suit Filed Against Alaska's High School Exit Exam. Children with disabilities
and their parents filed a class-action lawsuit against the Alaska Board of Education
to challenge Alaska's controversial High School exit exam. (03/16/04)
Honored. Brent Staples, a member of the New
York Times Editorial Board, was recognized
for his articles about reading and literacy by the New
York Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Sit on 5.7 Billion in Federal Education Funds. According
to the U. S. Department of Education, all states have millions in unspent federal
education dollars from 2000-2002 - including
1.7 billion for special education. Learn
how your state ranks. (01/27/04)
Send Millions Back to Feds! Lack of Federal Funds? Not Really. Research
editor Sue Heath was astounded to learn that states returned millions in education
funds to the federal government in 2002. How much money did your state send back
to Washington? Read
this article to find out. (01/14/04)
Fairly Amazing Happened on December 9. On December 9, the U.S. Department
of Education published the final NCLB regulations about alternative assessments
for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The noteworthy event was
not the new regulations - it was a word in the Federal Register notice that published
the new regulations - the word "best." (12/10/03)
Advocacy Training Program in OKC. The Oklahoma Disability Law Center is sponsoring
a full day of advocacy training for parents and caregivers at the University of
Central Oklahoma in Edmond. All participants will receive Wrightslaw: Special
Education Law, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy and Wrightslaw:
No Child Left Behind. (12/06/03)
Camp in Jackson MS Sold Out! On November 7-8, Parents United Together invited
Pete and Pam to Jackson, MS for a two-day Special Education Advocacy Boot Camp.
Folks traveled from California, New Jersey, and Connecticut to participate - the
program sold out! (11/07/03)
at End of the Road - Champion of Special-ed Children Still Doing Good, Having
visiting Pete and Pam Wright, Bill Lohmann of The Richmond Times-Dispatch
writes of "a
fast-talking, hyperactive, former football player with a photographic memory and
a passion for his work" who "fights for children and sails for himself,"
a man "who struggled through school, like the kids he helps, with learning
disabilities," a man who lives in "a slice of paradise" with his
wife, Pam. (8/3/03)
Children for Whom Reading and Learning Are Difficult. Brent Staples of the
New York Times asked, "Why is Pete Wright a warrior for children?"
Mr. Staples found that "People who get help after suffering humiliation in
school often grow up to be champions of children who remind them of their younger
selves. This is what happened to Mr. Wright." (6/26/03)
of Proposed Changes to IDEA. The National Association of Protection
and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) devised a "side-by-side" table that compares
the current IDEA with the proposed bill. This document will help you identify
the strengths and weaknesses of the bill. Share
your concerns with your members of Congress. (March 31, 2003)
Circuit Issues Pro-Child Decision in ABA Lovaas Case.
U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a pro-child decision in G.
v. Fort Bragg Dependent Schools, addressed the rights of children who
attend Dept of Defense schools, FAPE & educational benefit, procedural safeguards
and notice by parents, methodology, reimbursement for a Lovaas program, compensatory
education for failure to provide FAPE, prevailing party status & attorneys
fees. (March 25, 2003)
Parents Learn About New Law by Jill Harden, staff reporter, Hampton Union.
Residents and parents gathered at the Town Hall to learn how to prepare for the
the No Child Left Behind Act in a presentation by Sue
Heath, researcher and parent. (March 4, 2003)
Seminar Takes Cruise - Special Ed Advocates Focus on Law, Rights. Husband
and wife special education advocates Pete and Pam Wright will conduct a full day
legal and advocacy training seminar Wednesday at the Radisson Resort & Conference
Center in Port Canaveral. (Florida Today, January 14, 2003)
Therapy is Effective, but Rare.
NY Times article features Stefan Jaynes and his parents, describes problems parents
face in getting appropriate services for children with autism and failure of schools
to use effective methods. (October 21, 2002)
Lawsuit in Massachusetts: How High Are the Stakes? Learn about the
new high-stakes lawsuit in Massachusetts - and how high the stakes are.
Journal Recommends Wrightslaw as Resource for Parents of Disabled Children.
a hard hitting article about parents of disabled children, reporter Kelly Greene
recommends Wrightslaw for "Advocacy
resources for parents of children with disabilities." (July 2, 2002)
Shannon Carter Changed Special Education. Article by Brent Staples of The
New York Times with links to decisions in Shannon's landmark case, articles, reading
research, and more.
Awards 1 Million to Fired Special Ed Teacher.
Oregon jury sends
a message to school district - read the "inside story" and download
the pleadings in this landmark retaliation case. (Note: This judgment was subsequently
set aside and case is now on appeal.)
Available Due to School's and State's "Deliberate Indifference."
Judge rules that school and state showed "deliberate indifference" to
needs of child with Down syndrome who attended public school for 16 years - allowed
for an award of damages.