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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
February 26, 2003


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Issue - 199

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Rod Paige Announces Guiding Principles In Reauthorization of IDEA

Full Funding & School Choice

IDEA Reauthorization News

IDEA Alerts & Newsletters

IDEA Reauthorization Reports & Recommendations

Subscription & Contact Info.


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Alert! IDEA Reauthorization News! (February 26, 2003) Issue 199

As many readers know, Congress may revise and reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) this year.

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you need to know about proposed changes to the IDEA that may affect your child. If you are a teacher or special education service provider, the reauthorized law is likely to affect you and your job. Read the articles in this alert!

Online version of Alert: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/al.0226.htm


1. Rod Paige Announces Guiding Principles In Reauthorization of IDEA (February 25, 2003)

On February 25, 2003, U. S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige described the guiding principles in the reauthorization of IDEA:

"Every child in America deserves the highest-quality education, including our children with disabilities. Our goal is to align IDEA with the principles of No Child Left Behind by ensuring accountability, more flexibility, more options for parents and an emphasis on doing what works to improve student achievement."

Highlights:

  • Children with disabilities must be considered as general education students first.
  • Children with disabilities must be included in state accountability systems that have strong academic standards about what every child should know and learn.
  • IDEA should incorporate No Child Left Behind principles of assessment; align IDEA with NCLB to improve student achievement.
  • Simplify IDEA, eliminate unnecessary paperwork, focus on results.
  • Provide easier and earlier access to alternative dispute resolution for parents; improve mediation practices.
  • Simplify IDEA's discipline requirements; improve school safety; preserve protections for students with disabilities.
  • Implement research-based practices that have been proven to help students with disabilities learn.
  • Promote early intervention and reduce the misidentification of students with learning disabilities.
  • Ensure that school districts and state departments of education quickly adopt research and evidence-based practices.
  • Provide families and teachers with information about effective programs based on rigorous research.
  • Help parents and teachers choose appropriate services and programs, including charter and private schools of their choice.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.paige.reauth.principles.htm

Learn more about IDEA reauthorization: http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm


2. Full Funding, Vouchers & School Choice (February 13, 2003)

On February 13, the Associated Press reported, "Senate Republican leaders are proposing legislation that would expand school vouchers and offer extra help for children with disabilities."

The GOP wants to let parents decide whether to spend their tax money on public or private schools. Plans include a voucher program for low-income students in Washington, D.C., and a tax credit for families of poor children who transfer out of failing schools.

The bill directs the federal government to fulfill a promise it set in 1975 - paying 40 percent of the cost of educating children with disabilities. Yearly spending increases of roughly $2.5 billion would accomplish the full funding goal by 2009.

Learn more about the school choice and IDEA funding bill:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.funding.ap.htm

See also "Funding, vouchers to dominate special education debate," by Pamela Prah, Stateline.org (February 14, 2003)

http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http://www.stateline.org/story.do?storyId=288364


3. IDEA Reauthorization News

Vouchers, school choice, funding, discipline, dispute resolution . . . parents want to know how proposed changes to the IDEA will affect their children. Teachers and special ed service providers want to know how the reauthorized law is likely to affect them and their jobs. (No, we don't think school psychologists will be out of work!)

For news, progress reports, and other information about the IDEA reauthorization process, visit the IDEA Reauthorization page at:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm


4. IDEA Sites, Alerts & Newsletters

IDEA Support Site - KeepKidsLearning.org

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), New York, NY, recently launched an e-advocacy site, KeepKidsLearning.org, to generate grassroots support for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The site purpose is to educate parents and others on the upcoming reauthorization of IDEA and includes strong advocacy tools, such as ready-to-send letters for government officials and media outlets across the country.

http://www.keepkidslearning.org/

IDEA Rapid Response Network

The Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) launched the IDEA Rapid Response Network.

http://www.dredf.org/rapid.html

If you wish to receive email information about reauthorization and/or participate in the Network, please send an email to preserveIDEA@dredf.org. Include your name, contact information (postal address, telephone number, and email) and whether you want updates or wish to participate in the Network. More information about the IDEA Rapid Response Network is available on the DREDF site.

Action Alert

Get breaking news about federal legislation that may affect your child; learn what you can do to get involved. To subscribe, go to http://www.capwiz.com/ld/home/ and click ACTION E-LIST

LD News

LD News is a free e-publication of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. It is sent out monthly and addresses issues related to learning disabilities for children, teens and adults, including lifestyle and advocacy issues, Internet resources and more.

http://www.LD.org

GAO Reports: Education

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) provides investigative reports to Congress. As reauthorization of IDEA progresses, we expect GAO Reports to play an important role in informing members of Congress and the public. To be notified by email about GAO Reports About Education, follow this link:

http://www.gao.gov/subtest/subscribe.html

IDEA News

Monthly newsletter from the IDEA Practices site; includes IDEA news, conferences and events, new products and resources. To subscribe, go to http://www.ideapractices.org/ideanews/subscribe.php

Special Ed Advocate

Free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, tactics and strategy, and Internet resources. Subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases and events, and updates on IDEA reauthorization. To subscribe, follow this link:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm


5. IDEA Reauthorization Reports & Recommendations

Many reports and studies have identified the strengths and weaknesses of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and our system of educating children with disabilities. The IDEA Reauthorization Resources page includes links to these reports, surveys and recommendations.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/idea2002.resources.htm

Read these reports. Familiarize yourself with the issues.

Your Senators and Representatives should read these reports before they undertake the job of revising this law. When you write to your members of Congress, refer to these reports.

If you subscribe to the Special Ed Advocate, we will keep you posted on the progress of IDEA reauthorization.


6. Subscribe & Contact Info.

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.


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