Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
In this issue, we describe strategies to fight mandatory retention and other damaging policies; learn about mistakes parents and schools make and teach you the "rules of the game;" how to start a FETA study group; how to use flyers to educate others; and provide a side-by-side analysis of proposed changes to the IDEA.
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1. Ten Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention and Other Damaging Policies by Sue Heath
Good special education services are individualized, intensive and expensive. Schools often balk at providing intensive services. What can you do?
You need accurate information about your child's educational needs and legal rights. You need to use use tactics and strategies to anticipate problems, manage conflict, and avoid crises.
In "10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention & Other Damaging Policies," research editor Sue Heath shows you how to find answers to questions in the law and describes strategies you can use to fight damaging policies. You can adapt these strategies to many other school obstacles and problems.
"Do not assume that the interpretations and advice offered by people who plan to retain your child are correct. Parents and teachers often rely on what other people tell them. In many cases, the people who are dispensing this advice have not read the law either."
"Parents need to know what the statute says about mandatory retention. Parents who read the statute about mandatory retention will have ammunition to fight this policy."
2. Learning the "Rules of the Game"
When you learn the rules of the game, you will be a more effective advocate and negotiator for your child. You need to learn about gatekeepers, special education teams, and one-size-fits-all (OSFA) programs. This article by Indiana advocate Pat Howey will get you on the right track -
Learn About the School
The mission of public schools is to provide students with a standardized education. Standardized educational programs are not individualized, nor are they designed to meet the unique needs of the child with a disability. Read "Learning About the School" -
If you want to be a more effective advocate for kids, check the articles and resources on the Advocacy 101 page:
3. Mistakes People Make- by Robert Crabtree, Esq.
attorney Bob Crabtree writes about the "Mistakes
Because the stakes are so high, it is difficult for parents of children with special educational needs to advocate calmly and objectively for the educational and related services their children need. Read this article to learn about the mistakes parents make.
Mistakes School Districts Make
Anything a school system does that undermines parents' trust creates a climate that is costly in dollars, time, peace of mind, and the quality and success of services given to the child. This article describes the most common mistakes school systems make.
4. How to Start a FETA Study Group
Do you want to learn about effective advocacy? The best way to learn is to teach others. This article is about the nuts and bolts of starting a FETA group, how to get free publicity, how to manage emotions and stay on task.
5. Analysis of Proposed Changes to IDEA
The House of Representatives is considering a Republican sponsored 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 soon.
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) devised a "side-by-side" table that compares the current IDEA with the proposed bill. We converted this document into a pdf file:
We encourage you to read the NAPAS side-by-side analysis of proposed changes to IDEA - this document will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of the bill. Share your concerns with your members of Congress.
6. Help Others, Distribute 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!
7. 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.