Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
August 14, 2003


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ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue . . .


Pam's Recovery Continues, Pete Polishes His Cooking Skills

Why Do You Tell Parents to Use NCLB to Fight Public Schools?

Four Great Things About Reading in NCLB

Advocacy 101: Documents, Letters & Paper Trails

Strategies for Success

Free Shipping

IDEA Update

Wrightslaw Advocacy Training Program

Subscription & Contact Info

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A new school year is beginning. If you are the parent of a child with special educational needs, it's time for a refresher course in effective advocacy. If you are a teacher or special ed service provider, you may want to fine-tune your advocacy skills on behalf of your students.

Highlights: Pam's recovery continues, Pete's polishes his cooking skills; are Pete and Pam enemies of public schools; four great things about reading in NCLB; advocacy 101 - documents, letters, paper trails; strategies for success - how to get services by asking questions; free shipping on Wrightslaw books; IDEA Update - battle against low expectations continues; attend a Wrightslaw Advocacy Training Program.

Quote of the Week: "To produce great schools worthy of a great nation, we must also change our hearts and our minds. We must let go of the myths and perceptions about who can learn and who can't." - Rod Paige, Secretary, Department of Education

Download newsletter in html: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.0814.htm

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter 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. We appreciate your help!

http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Do you want to learn more about special education advocacy? Learn how to start a FETA Study Group:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.feta.groups.htm

Our Free Newsletter Flyer has grown to two pages. Please print and distribute our new Free Newsletters Flyer:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/flyers/free.nwltrs.pdf


1. Pam's Recovery Continues, Pete Polishes His Cooking Skills

Pam continues to recover from her recent surgery. Last week, her doctor did xrays so she could see the new 2 1/2 inch screws and rods in her back. Her bone graft looked like wispy cirrus clouds. She wants to thank the folks who sent "Get Well" emails - your messages have helped to keep her spirits up.

In addition to collecting another set of surgical tools (suture removal), Pete is cleaning house, doing laundry, and cooking great meals from scratch - New Orleans style Gumbo (the roux took two hours!), Crab Imperial, Soft-shelled Crabs and Scallops, Cajun-style Steak.

Pam is fighting the temptation to delay her recovery by a few weeks - Pete is a very good cook.


2. Why Do You Tell Parents to Use NCLB to Fight Public Schools? Are You Against Public Schools?

Although Pam's health is improving every day, she got a little cranky when she read this email from Joe:

"Why are you telling parents how to use No Child Left Behind to fight public schools? Are you against public schools? Do you think people should place their children in private schools or teach them at home?"

Pam gives Joe some facts, then tells him a story about her family history.

Pete tells Joe about the deadly power of low expectations and shares his experiences with schools.

Read "Are Pete and Pam Wright the Enemies of Public Schools" at http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/ltrs/p2.enemies.schools.htm


3. Four Great Things About Reading in NCLB

In last week's newsletter, we told you about "4 Great Things About Reading in NCLB" - but we forgot to include a link to the article - here it is -

http://www.wrightslaw.com/nclb/4defs.reading.htm


4. Advocacy 101: Documents, Letters & Paper Trails

Good records are essential to effective advocacy. You can use simple low-tech tools to record your contacts with the school: calendars, logs, journals.

Learn how to keep a log of telephone calls, meetings, important conversations, and correspondence in Advocacy 101: Documents, Records and Paper Trails

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/advo.create.trails.htm

Write letters to clarify events and what you were told. When you train yourself to write things down, you are taking important steps to protect your child's interests.

If you have a dispute with the school, your logs and letters are independent evidence that support your memory. Documents that support your position will help you resolve disputes early.

Learn more about letter writing, documentation and paper trails at:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ltrs.index.htm


5. Strategies for Success: How I Learned to Get Services by Asking Questions

"When I began to advocate for my daughter, I felt insecure so I supported my requests with tons of documents--articles, reports and recommendations from experts, test results, and information about specialized equipment."

"I was surprised when the "powers that be" would not provide the services and supports I requested for my daughter."

" What was I doing wrong? What did I need to do differently?"

If you are battling school personnel to get services for your child, you need to read this article! Learn about perceptions, "Know-it-all Parents", and simple strategies you can use to improve your relationship with school personnel -- and get services for your child.

Read "How I Learned to Get Services by Asking Questions" at -

http://www.fetaweb.com/success/advo.parent.askqs.htm


6. Free Shipping - Save $$

Our publisher is offering FREE SHIPPING on all books - you save at least $4.95 per order.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (with or without CD-ROM) by Pete and Pam Wright
http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/law.html

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy by Pam and Pete Wright
http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/feta.html

Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives by Barbara Bateman and Cynthia Herr
http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/bb.iep.html

Why Johnny Doesn't Behave by Barbara Bateman and Annemieke Golly
http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/bb.wjdb.html

To place an order in the Wrightslaw store, go to http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/index.html

To order by Mail, Fax and Phone, go to http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/orderform.htm


7 IDEA Update: Battle Against Low Expectations Continues

The Center for Law and Education reports that the Senate bill to reauthorize the IDEA (S. 1248) will undermine NCLB opportunities for students with disabilities. Kathleen Boundy of CLE sent a letter to members of the Senate HELP Committee and described portions of S. 1248 that may prevent IDEA students from receiving benefits under NCLB.

Ms. Boundy expressed concerns about:

1. Eliminating the right to “stay-put” during appeals; encouraging disciplinary exclusions, drop-outs, and removals of students who will NOT be “counted” for purposes of AYP

2. Quashing the affirmative duty to provide FAPE to eligible children so that ALL might learn

3. Failing to connect “short-term objectives or benchmarks” with accountability under NCLB

4. Unequal and low expectations for students with disabilities, and lower standards for special Ed teachers

5. Preserving IDEA protections

Her letter concludes:

"For this Congress to succumb to a backlash fueled by knowledge that 'these kinds of kids' will make schools 'look badly' because they have, in fact, NOT been effectively taught what all students are expected to know - is unconscionable. The endgame is clear ---not to confront evidence of the performance gap between students with and without disabilities – but, once again, to disguise the truth because too many schools will be identified as 'under performing.'"

"Are we really committed to ensuring that these students are provided the opportunities to learn what all students learn? Did we ever really expect 'these kinds of kids' to learn? And does ALL really mean 'ALL'?"

"If our answer is 'yes,' we need to continue to work together to meet this challenge by preserving the crucial protections of IDEA, by using NCLB to identify those schools and districts most in need of providing effective interventions to
under-achieving students with disabilities, and by effectively implementing IDEA."

"Before it is too late, please correct S. 1248; preserve the rights of students with disabilities under the IDEA as we move forward to Leave No Child Behind."

Download the full text of this letter:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.nclb.ltr.cle.pdf

Your Senators are home in August. The senators have local offices so it is easier to visit and stay in touch with them. Please contact your Senators to express your views on these proposed changes to IDEA.

Stay current about changes and proposed changes to IDEA - visit IDEA Reauthorization Issues & News: http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm


8. Put Wrightslaw Advocacy Training on Your To-do List

Wrightslaw training programs focus on four areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

August 25-26: Wichita KS (Boot Camp)
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.08.ks.htm

September 20: Pittsburgh PA
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.09.pa.htm

September 23: Annandale VA (Northern Virginia/DC area)
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.09.va.htm

September 26: Charlotte NC
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.09.nc.htm

November 7-8: Jackson MS (Boot Camp)
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.11.ms.htm

November 15: Syracuse NY
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.11.ny.htm

To learn about other Wrightslaw training programs scheduled for the 2003-2004 year, please check our Seminars & Training page: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

About ten percent of attendees at our conferences come from other states, often traveling hundreds of miles to learn. Just a thought.

If you want to learn how to bring Pete & Pam to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/faqs.htm


9. 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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