In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we look at No Child Left Behind, meet an abused child who finally returns to school, learn how to start an advocacy group, download free publications and subscribe to free newsletters, and learn what Pete and Pam are up to this winter.
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1. No Child Left Behind Act: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need To Know
In 2002, the single most important educational event was the No Child Left Behind Act. No Child Left Behind gives parents new options, including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school.
The law also includes new requirements about educating teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, and annual testing of math and reading skills.
We have been flooded with questions from educators, principals, and school administrators about the No Child Left Behind Act about what they need to know and be able to do. Our NCLB expert Suzanne Heath answers these questions in "No Child Left Behind: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need to Know"-
Pdf - printer friendly version: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.teachers.admins.pdf
You will want to read Sue's article, "A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind" This article is also available in two formats:
Pdf - printer friendly version: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.parent.guide.heath.pdf
To learn more about the No Child Left Behind Act, please visit the wrightslaw site.
2. Abused Child Returns To School With Legal Protections
Sometimes, we learn about a case that triggers intense emotions and a strong desire to right a wrong. Alex R.'s case triggered these responses. We are waiting to hear if Illinois school officials will right this wrong.
The following information is taken directly from the news release about Alex R's case. If you download the decision, keep in mind that the file is very large so please be patient.
"A young Illinois boy who suffered abuse and harassment at the hands of public school staff, under the direction of a superintendent who then lied under oath to protect himself, will soon return to his classroom with legally ordered protections."
"Alex, a student at Forrestville Valley school district in northwest Illinois who has been diagnosed with an epileptic disorder with autistic characteristics (Landau Kleffner Syndrome Variant), had become terrified of attending school . . . "
"The superintendent amassed secret documents, derided Alex to members of the local community, and committed other acts aimed at removing him from the school district . . . The demeanor of the school staff when testifying with the superintendent present evidenced how they were intimidated by the superintendent into furthering his agenda to rid the district of students presence.
"One of the most egregious examples of the school districts violations occurred last October. As huge pieces of dangerous agricultural equipment were swarming local fields to harvest corn, Alex, then nine years old, walked from his school playground into the vast density of an unharvested cornfield in an attempt to find his way home. This occurred as school personnel stood by and watched."
"Instead of making it safely home some 15 miles away Alex fell into what was described as 'quicksand' -- a muddy section of the Leaf River in Ogle County. For three hours, Alex sank lower into the muck, water covering his nose. Alex lost feeling below the neck. He cried out and called for his mother until he had no strength left."
Alex survived his ordeal but suffers from post-traumatic stress sydrome. He is receiving intense therapy to return his security and trust in people, and to alleviate his fear of school.
According to Charles Fox, Alex's attorney, the district was ordered to train their staff, hire experts to assist in Alexs re-inclusion, and monitor implementation of positive behavior management and sensory integration therapy. The district was also ordered to develop a disability sensitivity and awareness curriculum for all district classes K-12, and provide compensatory and other services and other remedies.
Full text of news release: http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2002/randall.abuse.dp.htm
Full text of decision in pdf: http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/2002/randall.dp.pdf
Summary of decision: http://www.mothersfromhell2.org/august02update.htm
Learn more about damages: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/damag.index.htm
Learn more about retaliation: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/retal.index.htm
3. On The Front Line: Mothers From H*ell2
Alex' mother is Beth Randall, president Mothers From H*ll 2, a parent advocacy organization:
In addition to the website, MFH2 publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Brimstone Bulletin, that is available to members. Please consider joining this group - you'll be glad you did! To learn how you can join MFH2, please visit their website.
As Beth Randall says, "The front line is not a pleasant place to be - but if someone doesn't start taking a stand it'll always be this way. Why else is it that nearly 30 years after the federal law IDEA was enacted, it still isn't being implemented as written?"
4. Wrightslaw Advocacy Training: January & February 2003
Knowledge is power. We help you gain knowledge and skills so you can be a more effective advocate for your child. Please join us for an advocacy training program this year.
January 15-19: From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise
Do you want to learn more about special education law and advocacy? Do you want to network with others who share your interests? Do you want to have fun in the sun? Join Pete and Pam Wright on the From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise II - A Very Special Cruise Seminar and Fund-Raiser for Special Education.
On Wednesday, January 15, Pete and Pam Wright will do a full day of legal and advocacy training at the Radisson Resort Hotel in Port Canaveral. On Thursday, participants will leave for a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas.
NOTE: This program has been approved for 7 CLE credits.
February 12-17: Louisiana Tour
In February, we hit the road for the Wrightslaw Louisiana Tour with stops in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans!
General Info: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.02.la.htm
February 12, 2003: Shreveport, Advocacy Training
This one-day advocacy training program focuses 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.
February 14-15, 2003: Baton Rouge, BOOT CAMP
On Friday, you'll learn about special education law, rights and responsibilities, tests and measurements, and how to use the bell curve to measure educational progress or regression. On Saturday, you'll learn about SMART IEPs and tactics and strategy for effective advocacy.
We will test your skills and knowledge and give you feedback about your progress. Learn more about the Baton Rouge Boot Camp at the wrightslaw site.
February 17, 2003: New Orleans, Advocacy Training
This one-day program focuses on 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.
For more information about the Louisiana Tour, call Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge at 225-216-7474 or Toll Free at 866-216-7474, or call the Baton Rouge Autism Society at 225-929-6544.
February 25: Orlando - Free Advocacy Training
If you are a Florida resident, join us for a FREE advocacy training program in Orlando. No fee is required to attend the Seeds for Success program but you must pre-register by mail or fax. Registration must be received on or before February 10, 2003.
NOTE: Space is limited to the first 150 registrants.
Please download and distribute the flyer designed by UCF- CARD
To learn if we are coming to your area, please check our Seminars & Training page:
How to plan a training program, seminar or boot camp . . .
If you want to bring Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars:
5. Free Pubs From Wrightslaw
Overwhelmed and overloaded? Need help? Even if you are an experienced Internet user, you can feel overwhelmed by the amount of material you find. You can easily spend hours looking for information without finding what you need.
Download free publications about IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, children's mental health, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention and social promotion, zero tolerance and discipline from our Free Pubs page.
6. Learn About Advocacy - Start A FETA Group
Do you want to learn advocacy skills? The best way to learn is by doing - and by teaching others. As Confucius said, "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
Learn how to start a FETA group, how to recognize and deal with pitfalls, how to get free publicity for your group, how to manage emotions, and stay on task:
50% Discount on Wrightslaw Books
Interested in starting a FETA Group? Get a 50% discount on bulk purchases of Wrightslaw books. For more info visit the wrightslaw site.
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8. 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.
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