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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
March 7, 2003


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Issue - 202

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Message From The Editor

The File: Do It Right!

The Paper Chase: Managing Your Child's Documents By Bob Crabtree, Esq.

Advocacy Campaign Help Needed!

Hot Topics: High Stakes Testing

NCLB: How Does Your State Rank?

I Need Your Help: An Education Writer's Plea

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In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we learn about The File: Do It Right!, The Paper Chase: Managing Your Child's Documents By Bob Crabtree, Esq., Advocacy Campaign Help Needed!, Hot Topics: High Stakes Testing, NCLB: How Does Your State Rank?, I Need Your Help: An Education Writer's Plea.

The Special Ed Advocate is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. Thanks!

FLYERS! If you want to help others learn about special education law and advocacy, please download, print and distribute the Wrightslaw flyer. Where can you distribute the flyer? At school meetings, doctor's offices, hospitals, and day care centers!

Flyer in html

Flyer in pdf

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your email address, please follow the instructions at the end of this newsletter you received as an email.


1. Message From The Editor

It's hard to believe but IEP time is just around the corner.

In this issue, we teach you how to organize your child's file and manage documents. Over the next few weeks, we will focus on tests and evaluations, educational progress, extended school year, IEPs, and IEP meetings.

Preparation is the key to successful outcomes!


2. The File - Do It Right!

Think about the last school meeting. Did the IEP team members have a complete copy of your child's file? Did you have a complete copy of your child's file? How can the IEP team make decisions about your child's special education program if they do not have complete, accurate information about your child?

When you organize your child's file, you will have all the information about your child in one place. With our document management system, you can track your child's educational history. When you use this parent-tested system, you can quickly locate any document in your child's file.

When you take your organized file to the next school meeting, you will understand the power of getting organized. You will gain a sense of control.

Read The File - Do It Right! at: http://www.fetaweb.com/03/organize.file.htm

This article includes specific, step-by-step instructions and sample forms.

"Please pass on my thanks to Pam & Pete for the Document Management System and sample letters in the FETA book. The system has helped me tremendously in keeping all these papers organized. Seeing my child's progress over time is very helpful." - Renee

Please share this article with others!


3. The Paper Chase: Managing Your Child's Documents By Bob Crabtree, Esq.

If you've got kids with special educational needs, you can be overwhelmed by the paperwork in no time at all. IEP's, evaluations, progress reports, correspondence, notes, journals, samples of your child's work, and medical records, will fill several drawers of a file cabinet or take up most of your shelf space.

You might be tempted to throw out papers when they get out of hand, but this may be a mistake. Even the oldest documents in your child's history can sometimes help you make a case for increased or different services under IDEA.

Make sure you understand the relative importance of different documents and organize them sensibly.

Here are some guidelines to help you manage them.

Mr. Crabtree is the author of several articles, including "Special Ed Advocacy - 9 Rules of Thumb"


4. Advocacy Campaign: Help Needed!

"Your website is an oasis of knowledge about special ed law. Every time I click on, I learn something new, some new twist to Ed law. Thank you for the hard work you put into this site."

Six and a half million children with disabilities are receiving special education services. These children and their families need advocacy information and support.

Our goal with the Wrightslaw and Fetaweb sites, Wrightslaw books, and The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is to empower parents, teachers, special Ed services providers, and family members by providing them with accurate information. All information on the web sites and in the Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free.

Because we are interested in new ways to reach people, we were intrigued by a reader's idea:

"Ask your subscribers to get the word out about the Special Ed Advocate newsletter and the Wrightslaw site. If each newsletter subscriber gets just one new person to subscribe, the positive impact will double!"

We liked this idea and asked the reader for more ideas. She suggested that we sponsor an "Advocacy Campaign" to get the word out to more people who are interested in special education, advocacy, and disabilities issues.

The advocacy campaign uses one simple low-tech tool - flyers.

Curious? Learn how you can participate in the Advocacy Campaign.

For more advocacy tips please visit the wrightslaw site.


5. Hot Topic: High Stakes Testing

As school districts and states come under increased pressure to improve educational results, high-stakes testing has emerged as a hot issue.

Many school districts do not teach children grade-level material. As a result, children do not learn the skills they need to pass these tests. When children fail, they pay a high price when they are retained or denied a high school diploma.

We should not penalize students when schools do not teach necessary knowledge and skills.

What do you need to know to advocate for your child? What do the policy makers in your state need to know? The resources in this High-Stakes Testing Flyer will help.

Read news, articles, resources about high-stakes testing.


6. NCLB: How Does Your State Rank?

The Education Commission of the States has collected information from 50 states and rated them according to compliance with No Child Left Behind.

ECS found that 12 states are on track to comply with even half of the major requirements of the law. North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas are farthest along while Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oregon bring up the rear.

Only 25 states are ready to offer students the opportunity to transfer out of failing schools; 20 states offer students in persistently failing schools the free tutoring services that the law requires. Go to:

http://nclb.ecs.org/nclb/

Click "State Snapshots."

You can get details on each state and compare up to 5 states at a time in several areas of accountability. This is a very neat feature - different issues are color-coded to show whether a state appears to be on track, is partially on track, does not appear to be on track, etc.

Pass this on to news media, school boards, legislators and others you think could use a clear view of your state's accountability system.

Read articles, news, and resources about the No Child Left Behind Act

Download & distribute the No Child Left Behind Flyer


7. I Need Your Help: An Education Writer's Plea

The Washington Post has launched a comprehensive review of Washington area public schools. Staff writer Jay Matthews wants to identify factors that are most important for parents in selecting and judging places to send your children.

Mr. Matthews writes, "I need your help. We are not sure what factors are most important to readers in selecting and judging the places they send their children."

"I don't want to hear just from Washington people . . . If you have thought about this issue, I want your conclusions . . . I hope to get some thoughtful, perhaps even heated, dissents."

Learn more about Mr. Matthews' call for help:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23598-2003Feb4.html

In the January 24 issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we recommended "The Frustration That is Special Education" by Mr. Matthews about one parent's battle to get appropriate services for her child:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22526-2003Jan21.html

Mr. Matthews also wrote "Is Your Public School Good Enough?" about one family's search for the right school for their kindergartener. In this article, he listed 12 factors that experts think are important in deciding on a school - food for thought.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34578-2000Apr7.html


8. 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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Contact Information

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

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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