Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
March 31, 2003


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ISSN: 1538-3202

In This Issue . . .


IDEA ALERT - Congress Needs Your Help on House Bill 1350

Tips for Writing Letters to Congress

Flyers: Letter Writing Tips

News! IDEA Reauthorization

Join Pete & Pam in NJ (April 6)

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IDEA ALERT - Congress Needs Your Help on House Bill 1350!

The House of Representatives is considering a bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We understand that this bill is on a fast track and may be voted on by the House in less than a week.

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you represent your child's interests. You need to stay informed about changes to the law 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.

The National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) developed an Analysis of Proposed Changes to IDEA as a "side-by-side" table that compares the current IDEA with the proposed bill. We converted this Analysis of Proposed Changes to IDEA into a pdf file for easy printing and distribution.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.house.sidebyside.napas.pdf

NAPAS reports that critical IDEA protections are threatened by the bill, and calls on parents and the public to contact members of Congress.

We encourage you to read the Analysis of Proposed Changes to IDEA by NAPAS - this document will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of the bill. Share your concerns with your members of Congress.

Please distribute this Alert: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/al.0331.htm


Tips for Writing Letters to Congress

Here are some tips about writing letters to members of Congress.

1. Personal stories are important. Explain how your child, or a child for whom you advocate, will be hurt by the proposed changes.

2. Explain why the bill may turn back the clock, harm children, or lead to increased costs to society if children with disabilities don't get the education they need to "prepare them for employment and independent living" (§1400(d) Purposes of IDEA statute)

3. Keep your letter short. Focus on one or two key points. Every member of Congress gets hundreds of letters a day. Their staff do not have time to wade through long letters.

4. Offer to follow-up with a phone call or visit.

5. Send your letter by fax or email.

Download this Directory of Members of Congress for contact info, including phone numbers.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/house.numbers.pdf

To send an email to your member of Congress, use this nifty tool from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (just plug in your zip code and GO!)
http://capwiz.com/ld/issues/alert/?alertid=1544091&type=CO

Tip: If you send your letter by email, type RE: H.R. 1350 in the subject line.

Include your name and address at the top of your letter - and sign it.


Flyers: Letter Writing Tips

Our book Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy includes strategies and tips about many topics, including letter writing. Download these one-page tip sheets for writing letters from the companion website at Fetaweb.com:

Letter Writing Tips: http://www.fetaweb.com/05/ltrs.tips.pdf

Nuts & Bolts of Letter-Writing: http://www.fetaweb.com/05/ltrs.nuts.bolts.pdf

More Flyers -  http://www.wrightslaw.com/flyers.htm

Learn more about Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy
http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/feta/feta.htm


News! IDEA Reauthorization

As the IDEA Reauthorization process heats up, you need news, progress reports, and other important information. Bookmark our news page about IDEA Reauthorization.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm

To learn more about the issues, including reports, surveys and recommendations about how the law may be changed, please visit the IDEA Resources page.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/idea2002.resources.htm


Join Pete & Pam Wright in New Jersey - April 6, 2003

Knowledge is power. Our role is to help you gain knowledge and skills so you can be a more effective advocate for children with disabilities.

On Sunday, April 6, we will do an advocacy training program in Iselin, New Jersey.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.nj.htm

This one-day advocacy seminar will focus on four areas: special education law, rights and responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and how to use tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

The seminar will be held at Hilton Woodbridge, 120 Wood Avenue South, Iselin, NJ 08830-2709. Telephone number for the Hilton: (732) 494-6200.

For details and registration information please visit the ASPEN website.
http://www.aspennj.org/conference.html


For other information, please call (732) 321-0880 or email: aspenorg@aol.com

For information about programs that will be held over the next several weeks in Massachusetts, Florida and Virginia, please check our Seminars & Training page: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

If you are interested in learning how to get Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/faqs.htm


Subscription & 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.

Law Library - http://www.wrightslaw.com/law.htm

Advocacy Library - http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc.htm

Free Newsletter - http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Newsletter Archives - http://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

Seminars & Training - http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

Yellow Pages for Kids - http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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