Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
September 3, 2003


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ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue


Back to School, Backs to the Wall

IDEA Talking Points

IDEA Reauthorization News

Free Shipping - Save $$

Mistakes People Make by Bob Crabtree, Esq.


Wrightslaw March Through the Mid-Atlantic
(PA, VA, NC)

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education. In this issue, we bring you up to date on IDEA reauthorization news and help you avoid common mistakes people make.

Highlights: Back to school, backs to the wall on IDEA reauthorization; IDEA talking points; IDEA reauthorization news; free shipping on Wrightslaw books; mistakes people make - parents, schools, evaluators, advocates; Wrightslaw marches through the Mid-Atlantic.

Download newsletter in html: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.0903.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


1. Back to School, Backs to the Wall: IDEA Reauthorization

"Summer went fast, didn't it? The kids are back in school. Parents are returning to normal schedules after summer activities. Congress returns to Washington. Some things have changed. Others have stayed the same."

"One thing has not changed from June. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA 97] remains under attack, and 6.5 million students and their families remain with their backs against the wall. September, always a busy month, will be pivotal in the battle to save IDEA 97."

In Back to School, Backs to the Wall, founders of the Our Children Left Behind website tell you about the battle to save IDEA, the issues, and what you should do and say.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.reauth.summ.0903.htm

"Remember it's about the child – your child, and her/his right to achieve greatness in her/his own way, and on her/his own terms. There are 6.5 million children and their families standing beside you."

"If we all do just one thing, it might be enough to turn the tide in our favor. If we do nothing, we have no one to blame but ourselves . . ."

Our Children Left Behind has many excellent articles about IDEA and sample letters that you can use to communicate with your members of Congress.


2. IDEA Talking Points

In September, the Senate is expected to consider bills that will water down the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For example:

* Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) plans to introduce a bill that will allow schools to ignore test scores of kids with disabilities in determining NCLB compliance.

* Senate bill (S. 1248) eliminates short-term objectives and benchmarks from IEPs.

* Senate bill (S. 1248) eliminates requirements for Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavioral Intervention Plans.

* Senate bill (S. 1248) allows schools to put children in alternative settings, even if a hearing officer reverses the school.

* Senate bill 1248 ignores studies by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that say there is no data to justify changing the IDEA discipline rules.

Your job is to convince your Senators to adopt a good IDEA. You will not convince Senators by attacking political parties. This is not the time to vent. Since you may be asking Republican Senators to go against the recommendation from their own policy committee, it's not a good idea to attack Republicans or their party. Just say that the Senate Republican Policy Committee wants X and this is a bad idea for Y reason.

Read IDEA Talking Points, then contact your Senators
(article includes contact info and strategies).

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.talk.pts.0903.htm


3. IDEA Reauthorization News

Vouchers, school choice, funding, discipline, dispute resolution . . . parents want to know how proposed changes to the IDEA will affect their children.

Teachers and special ed service providers want to know how the reauthorized law is likely to affect them and their jobs. (No, we don't think school psychologists will be out of work!)

For news, progress reports, and other information about the IDEA reauthorization process, visit IDEA Reauthorization News at:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm


4. Free Shipping - Save $$

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


5. Mistakes People Make- by Robert Crabtree, Esq.

As the new school year begins, you need to think about avoiding mistakes. Massachusetts attorney Bob Crabtree offers great advice in his Mistakes People Make series.

Mistakes Parents Make

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.

http://www.fetaweb.com/02/mistakes.parents.crabtree.htm

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.

http://www.fetaweb.com/02/mistakes.school.crabtree.htm

Mistakes Advocates Make

Because the non-lawyer advocate plays an extremely important role in the special education process, advocates must be mindful of the power of their role and the trust parents place in them. The more serious mistakes advocates make are generally ones of excess . . .

http://www.fetaweb.com/02/mistakes.advocates.crabtree.htm

Mistakes Independent Evaluators Make

To make their case for services or a specific program for their child, parents usually need a competent, credible independent evaluator. Serious mistakes by evaluators can make undermine their credibility or render their opinions powerless. Learn about mistakes independent evaluators make.

http://www.fetaweb.com/02/mistakes.evaluators.crabtree.htm


6. Wrightslaw Marches Through the Mid-Atlantic (PA, VA, NC)

"I attended your Boot Camp with two coworkers. We learned SO MUCH in those two days! Your books could not be more helpful to anyone who works with special education students." - Christie from Kansas

In September, Wrightslaw Marches through the Mid-Atlantic, with advocacy training programs in Pittsburgh, PA, Northern Virginia and Charlotte, NC. We hope you will join us for one of these programs:

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

In November, we travel to Mississippi and New York:

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

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.

For more information about these events and programs that will be held over the next few months, please check our Seminars & Training page.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

We are now booking programs for 2004. To learn how you can bring Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/faqs.htm


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.

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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