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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
April 29, 2003


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Issue - 213

ISSN: 1538-3202
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National Call-in Day - Kids Need Our Help Today - April 29

Your Game Plan: Call & Write

Get Rep's Phone Numbers

Send Letters by Email & Fax

Why You Must Act

Proposed Changes to IDEA

Subscription & Contact Info
 



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Alert! National Call-in Day - Kids Need Our Help Today!

Today, Tuesday, April 29, 2003, is National Call-In Day to protect IDEA. Please contact your Representative today. Explain that you oppose changes to the IDEA that are included in H.R. 1350.

Your message is simple:

"Vote NO on H.R. 1350. It's a bad IDEA. It will hurt our children."

Ask your friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers to contact their Representatives today, April 29, with the same message:

"Vote NO on H.R. 1350. It's a bad IDEA. It will hurt children with disabilities."

Our kids rely on us to speak up on their behalf. We cannot let them down.

Join Pete and Pam and 43,367 Special Ed Advocate subscribers - call and write your Representative today!

Your Game Plan: Call AND Write

1. Call. Call your Representative's office in Washington. Or call the local office (get phone numbers) and ask them to transfer you to Washington.

When you call, all you have to say is "My name is Pam Wright. I live at 257 Pocahantas Avenue, Deltaville, Virginia. I am calling to urge Representative Davis to oppose HR 1350. HR 1350 is a bad idea and will hurt children with disabilities."

If you want to say more, ask to speak to your Representative's staffer who deals with IDEA issues. The person who answers the phone will simply record that you oppose the bill.

2. Write. Follow-up your phone call with a short letter.

Personalize your letter. Mention that you are the parent of a child with a disability (or a grandparent, family member, neighbor, teacher, advocate). Give an example from your experience about how the current law is working and that proposed changes will hurt your child.

Explain why this bill will 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)

Fax or email your letter to your Representative.

Calling and writing a short letter will only take a few minutes of your time. Be a hero - speak up for our kids!

Get Your Representative's Phone Numbers

To get the local and DC phone and fax numbers for your Representative, go to Congress.org
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

If you do not know who your Representative is, put your Zipcode into the box on the front page. Click *INFO* below his/her name for phone and fax numbers.

If you know who your Representative is, you can get get phone numbers from our House of Representatives Directory:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/house.numbers.pdf

You will also find your Representative's local phone numbers in the Blue Pages of your phone directory under Federal Government.

Send Your Letter by Email or Fax

You can send your letter by email through the Legislative Action Center at the National Center for Learning Disabilities:

http://capwiz.com/ld/issues/alert/?alertid=1235916&type=CO

When you enter your zip code, you go to a page with your Representative's names. Copy and paste your letter into the text box - very easy!

To get your Representative's fax number, go to Congress.org
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

Why You Must Act Today

Parents MUST show Congress that the IDEA is good law. Parents MUST rebut school districts' claims that the system is too difficult and doesn't work for them.

Here are a few of the problems with H.R. 1350:

* Introduces "optional" 3-year IEPs
* Removes short-term objectives & benchmarks from IEPs

* Introduces "optional" voluntary arbitration
* Requires parents to give "specific notice" of due process complaints
* Allows governors to set attorneys fees
* Does not require full (40%) federal funding of IDEA
* Destroys discipline protections and provisions (functional behavior assessments, behavior intervention plans, manifestation determinations)

If you do not take action, the House of Representatives is likely to pass a bill that will hurt our children. Please help us defeat this bill.

Proposed Changes to IDEA

This proposed bill weakens IDEA in significant ways that will harm children with disabilities. The bill introduces "optional" 3-year IEPs; eliminates IEP objectives and benchmarks; weakens procedural safeguards and protections for parents and kids; allows schools to suspend or expel kids who have behavior problems related to their disabilities for violating school "codes of conduct".

For more info about proposed changes to IDEA, please read the IDEA Alert we sent out on April 21.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/al.0421.htm

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 the 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

We encourage you to read the Analysis of Proposed Changes to IDEA - this document will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of the bill before you share your concerns with your member of Congress.


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

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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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