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News and Alerts

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For information about dozens of subjects, from Autism and Advocacy to IEPs and Section 504,
please visit our Topics pages.

2006

Q&A 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 testing. (02/02/06)

Burden 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. (1/12/06)

2005


Pete 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." (12/19/05)

Pete 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?" (11/05)

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)

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Burden of Proof - On Parents or Schools? The National Council on Disability (NCD) published IDEA 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)

Federal Judge Approves Record $6.7 Million Settlement in Special Ed Case - Manhattan 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)

U. 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 court’s 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)

Special Prepublication 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)

Proposed 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)

IDEA 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)

IDEA 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)

Dept of Ed Bows to Pressure, Offers "Flexibility" in Educating Students with Disabilities The Dept. of Education offered "a new commonsense approach" of "flexibility" to schools that do not meet accountability standards for another 2 percent of students with disabilities. (5/20/05)

Amicus 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)

IDEA 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)

A 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. (3/9/05)

Supreme 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)

Alert - 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)

Surviving 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. (1/9/05)

2004

President 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)

House-Senate Conference Committee Votes on IDEA Reauthorization: The Inside Story. On November 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. (11/18/04)

Congress 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 Act. (11/12/04)

Feds 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)

Negotiations 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)

Settlement 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)

Class 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)

Senate 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. (05/20/04)

Retaliation! 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.

Alaska 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)

Children 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)

Class Action 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)

Brent Staples 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.

States 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)

States 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)

2003

Something 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)

Free 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)

Boot 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)

Paradise at End of the Road - Champion of Special-ed Children Still Doing Good, Having Fun. After 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)

Championing 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)

Analysis 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)

4th Circuit Issues Pro-Child Decision in ABA Lovaas Case. The 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)

Local 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)

Advocacy 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)

2002

Autism 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)

High-Stakes Lawsuit in Massachusetts: How High Are the Stakes? Learn about the new high-stakes lawsuit in Massachusetts - and how high the stakes are.

Wall Street Journal Recommends Wrightslaw as Resource for Parents of Disabled Children. In 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)

How 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.

Jury 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.)

Damages 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.

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Last revised: 08/07/08

Copyright © 1998-2006, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

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