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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
October 7, 2003


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Issue - 231
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

What Can One Person Do?

NCLB - Really? Why I Like This Law by Bill Byrne, Esq.

How to Use Info from Special Ed Advocate in Ltr to Editor

Teaching a Child to Read: Special Ed or Reading First?

A Call To Action (VA)

Questions About Our Support for NCLB

IDEA Reauthorization Update

Dangerous Amendments May Weaken IDEA

Advocacy Training: MS, NY, OK

What Will You Do This Week?

Subscription and Contact Info.



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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.

Highlights: What can one person do; what two people did; teaching a child to read - special ed or Reading First; A Call to Action; questions about support for NCLB; IDEA reauthorization update; dangerous amendments may weaken IDEA; advocacy training programs in MS, NY, OK; what will YOU do this week?

Download newsletter in html: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.1007.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!


1. What Can One Person Do?

Last weeks newsletter, we wrote, "Every where you look, you see information about No Child Left Behind. What does it mean? What can you do with it? What can you change with it?"

"What will you do this week to improve education outcomes for children in your community? You need to give this some thought. There is room for everyone."

We want to tell you what two folks, Bill Byrne, a West Virginia attorney, and Anne Spence, a Colorado parent, did to improve education for children last week. Read their stories below.


2. No Child Left Behind — Really? Why I Like This Law by Bill Byrne, Esq.

Bill Byrne is an attorney who represents special-needs children and their parents. After he read portions of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind as a peer reviewer, Bill wrote an Op-ed article about NCLB for the WV Charleston Gazette.

"For more than 25 years, I have watched school after school “drop the ball” — and not give proper education services to disabled children. The only recourse is for courageous and determined parents to take on school systems and make them follow the law, often leading to costly and painful lawsuits."

"The federal No Child Left Behind law changes all this, and puts the burden on school systems to show that schools are doing their job. The law requires schools to be accountable for the progress of students — all students — not just “the best and the brightest . . .”

Read No Child Left Behind - Really? Why I Like This Law


3. Using Info from The Special Ed Advocate in a Letter to the Editor

Anne Spence is a parent from Durango, CO. She used portions from last week's issue of The Special Ed Advocate in a Letter to the Editor that asked parents to join an educational task force. Her letter, published in The Durango Herald on Sunday, October 5, said:

"If you are a parent of a child in special education and you are not happy with the free appropriate public education (FAPE) that your child receives, please consider joining our group of parents, the Durango Educational Task Force, so that we might make 'A powerful organization. We are currently at the level of 'Our dear friends,'and wish to increase our numbers." Contact Anne

1 parent = A fruitcake
2 parents = A fruitcake and a friend
3 parents = Troublemakers
5 parents = “Let’s have a meeting”
10 parents = “We’d better listen”
25 parents = “Our dear friends”
50 parents = A powerful organization”

Read 12 Things Parents Need to Know from Parent Leadership Associates.


4. Teaching a Child to Read: Special Ed or Reading First?

A mom writes, "My child is in 2nd grade and receives special education for reading. He just got a progress report with an F in reading even though he gets this extra help in special ed."

"We asked about putting him in the Reading First program. We were told he couldn't be in special ed and Reading First. Is my child prohibited from being in Reading First because he's in special Ed?"

What do you think? Are children who receive special education be excluded from Reading First?

In Teaching a Child to Read: Special Ed or Reading First, Sue Heath answers this mother's questions, offers strategies for getting help, and recommends a learning plan:

"The F in reading is telling both you and the school that the current reading program is not meeting your son's needs. He needs to learn to read." Read article


5. A Call to Action - Richmond, VA (October 18, 2003)

A Call to Action is an advocacy conference geared towards parents, advocates and attorneys who represent children with disabilities.

Morning Sessions

* IDEA Amendments by Larry Searcy, Legislative Director, Center for Law Education
*
No Child Left Behind by Pam Wright, M.A., M.S.W. and Pete Wright, Esq.

Afternoon Sessions

* Diploma Options (Will Kids with Disabilities Be Left Out?)
*
Coalition Building in Local Communities

A Call to Action is being held at T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond.
Registration: $15.00 (includes lunch)


More information about A Call to Action.
To receive a brochure for "A Call to Action" - or several brochures to distribute to members of your community, please contact Cheryl Ward.

Email: cward@ENDEPENDENCE.ORG
Phone: (757) 461-8007
FAX: (757) 461-5375


6. Questions About Our Support for NCLB - The Ultimate High Stakes Test?

"I am a longtime user of your usually excellent advocacy advice, but I fail to see how uncritical acceptance of NCLB furthers the cause of helping children with disabilities succeed in fulfilling their potential, or how it fits with other positions you have taken, as on high Stakes Testing, since NCLB seems to be the ultimate High Stakes Test."

Response: "I want to clarify a few things before I get to your fears for severely disabled children. No Child Left Behind is a general education law. Lowering the general education standards will not help children with severe disabilities . . ."

"Now for your concerns about schools abandoning the children with the most severe disabilities. If IDEA is weakened in the next reauthorization . . ."

Read Questions About Support for NCLB - The Ultimate High Stakes Test?

Learn more about No Child Left Behind


7. IDEA Reauthorization Update

Speaking of IDEA, many folks have asked for an update about the reauthorization of IDEA.

The House and Senate have both introduced their respective bills (H.R. 1350 and S. 1248). The full House passed its bill. In the Senate, the bill was passed out of Committee and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate. Senator Kennedy’s (D-MA) office called a meeting of . . . Read IDEA Reauthorization Update

IDEA Talking Points

More IDEA Reauthorization News


8. Dangerous Amendments May Weaken IDEA

The National Association of Protection & Advocacy Systems advises us about two dangerous amendments to the Senate bill.

* Amendment to Gut No Child Left Behind for Children with Disabilities
* Limits on Parent's Attorney Fees

Read Dangerous Amendments May Weaken IDEA

IDEA Reauthorization News

Visit Our Children Left Behind for breaking news about IDEA reauthorization issues


9. Advocacy Training - Join Pete and Pam for an Advocacy Training Program (MS, NY, OK)

"Your boot camp was the most useful CLE I've ever attended. CLEs are notoriously boring and unpleasant. Your program was neither and I learned a lot, even as an experienced practitioner in the field." - Rob Mead, KU Wheat Law Library

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.

November 7-8: Jackson MS (Last Boot Camp in 2003!)

November 12, Woodbridge VA

November 15: Syracuse NY

December 6: Oklahoma City OK

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


10. What Will You Do This Week?

Last week, we wrote, "Millions of children attend underperforming schools. What will you do this week to improve education outcomes for children in your community? Give this question some serious thought."

Bill Byrne wrote an Op-ed article about No Child Left Behind. Anne Spence wrote a Letter to the Editor to ask parents to join a task force. Sue Heath wrote an article about how to use flyers to educate others.

What will you do this week?


11. 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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