Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 3, 2003


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ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue


Are Children with Disabilities Required to Take High-Stakes Tests?

High Stakes Tests and Accountability

Suspensions, Expulsions and IEPs by Robert Crabtree

Behavior Problems: What Schools are Obligated to Do by Pete Wright

Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans

Need Help? Visit yellowpagesforkids.com

Join Pam and Pete in MS, VA, NY & OK

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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: High-stakes tests and children with disabilities; resources about testing and accountability; attorneys Bob Crabtree and Pete Wright answer questions about discipline, behavior problems, suspensions, and expulsions; learn about functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention plans; visit new Yellow Pages for Kids.

Download newsletter in html: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.1103.htm

Do you feel helpless and frustrated? The best way to combat negative feelings is by helping others.

Download, print and distribute Wrightslaw flyers or flyers for your state Yellow Pages for Kids.

You can distribute flyers at schools, day care centers, public libraries, doctor's and psychologist's offices, community centers, and hospitals. Ask your school, public library, day care center, and support group to post your state Yellow Pages for Kids flyer on their bulletin boards and websites.

Still frustrated? Forward this newsletter or the subscription page to your friends. Together we can make a difference!

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. Are Children with Disabilities Required to Take High-Stakes Tests?

A mom writes, "I know schools are required to give state-mandated tests. Are children required to take these tests? My child is significantly learning disabled. I don't see the point of putting him through the frustration of taking these tests."

Many parents and teachers are concerned that high-stakes tests will have a harmful effect on children with disabilities. Sue Heath, author of Doing Your Homework and co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, responds to these concerns.

"The testing required by NCLB is 'high-stakes' for schools and school districts, not for individual children. The tests are designed to find out if the schools are teaching what their states have determined they are supposed to teach, and to whom. Although some states have tied student promotion or graduation to test performance, this is not required or recommended by the No Child Left Behind Act."

What does the law actually say about high-stakes testing, promotion, and graduation? "Nothing in this part shall be construed to prescribe the use of the academic assessments described in this part for student promotion or graduation purposes." (20 U. S. C. 6311(l))

To be an effective advocate, you need to learn what the law says about issues that concern you. Our new book, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, will be available soon. In the meantime, the information on these pages will help:

High Stakes Tests: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/highstak.index.htm

Assessments & Evaluations: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.index.htm

No Child Left Behind: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.index.htm

Here is our answer to this Mom's question about high-stakes tests:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/ltrs/exempt_state_tests.htm


2. High-Stakes Tests and Accountability

If you have questions or concerns about testing and children with disabilities, we urge you to download and read "Accountability for Assessment Results in the No child Left Behind Act: What It Means for Children with Disabilities." This article uses a question and answer format to describe accountability in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Questions:

  • What about IDEA – isn’t that the education law for students with disabilities?
  • Why is No Child Left Behind good for students with disabilities?
  • Is anyone excluded from the No Child Left Behind requirements?
  • What do IEP teams need to consider in making participation decisions?
  • What should the IEP team do if the child needs a “modification” or “nonallowed accommodation” to participate in an assessment?
  • Do No Child Left Behind decisions affect graduation requirements?
Accountability for Assessment Results in the No Child Left Behind Act: What It Means for Children with Disabilities will answer many questions that parents and school personnel have about high-stakes testing and accountability under NCLB and IDEA.

3. Suspensions, Expulsions, and IEPs by Robert Crabtree, Esq.

"My daughter has a language impairment and an IEP. The school has suspended her twice for fighting. The vice principal said he plans to expel her. Can they do that?"

Attorney Robert Crabtree answers questions about suspensions, expulsions, IEPs, dangerous weapons, illegal drugs and alternative educational settings.

Learn about functional behavioral assessments, behavior intervention plans, long-term suspensions and expulsions, the child's rights, and what parents can do to protect these rights. Learn how to request a behavior assessment, an expedited hearing, and how to invoke "stay put."

Suspensions, Expulsions, and IEPs at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/discipl.suspend.crabtree.htm


4. Behavior Problems: What Schools Are Obligated to Do by Pete Wright

A special educator writes, "We have a 15 year old tenth grader who is diagnosed "seriously emotionally disturbed." Academically, he is functioning at the 2nd grade level. He is placed in a self-contained classroom."

"Must we continue to provide special education services in the current setting if we believe the student is a danger to himself or others? What if the school has no alternative placement? What about the safety of other students, teachers, administrators?"

In Behavior Problems: What Schools Are Obligated to Do, Pete describes the school's obligations to provide FAPE. He asks hard questions.

What is driving the boy? Why are his skills at the 2nd grade level? Why is he not receiving remediation of academic skills? Pete explains that the school team needs good diagnostic testing before they can develop an appropriate educational plan.

After describing a treatment program he developed when he worked as a juvenile probation officer, Pete asks, "Why do we have to reinvent the wheel again and again?"

Read Behavior Problems at http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/ltrs/behavior_obligate.htm


5. Functional Behavior Assessments & Behavior Intervention Plans

If you are dealing with discipline or behavior issues, you need to learn about functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention plans. These articles will help.

* Functional Behavior Assessments: What? Why? When? Where? Who? by Stephen Starin, Ph.D.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/discipl.fab.starin.htm

In this article, you will learn:

What is a "Functional Behavioral Assessment"?
Why Do Functional Behavioral Assessments?
How Do You Determine the Cause or Function of Behavior?
Observe and Analyze Behavior in Natural Environment
Types of Problem Behavior
Systematic Manipulation of Environment
What About Qualifications and Training?
Don't Waste Valuable Time!

Disciplining Students with Disabilities by Kevin Dwyer, Executive Director, National Association of School Psychologists. This article provides you with practical advice about how to increase positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors; recommended for school personnel and parents.

http://www.nasponline.org/publications/cq262discipline.html

Learn more about Behavior Problems & Discipline: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/discipl.index.htm


6. Need Help? Visit the Yellow Pages for Kids

Many problems parents have are caused by isolation and lack of information

We built the Yellow Pages for Kids site so so you can find information and help in one place.

The Yellow Pages for Kids was originally offered on fetaweb.com. We decided to build a website specifically for the Yellow Pages for Kids.

When you visit your state Yellow Pages, you will find many different resources - government programs, grassroots organizations, and support groups. You will also find evaluators, therapists, tutors, special ed schools, and parent support groups.

We need your help!

To get the word out about the state Yellow Pages for Kids , Debra Pratt of Wrightslaw designed flyers for each state.

http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/state.flyers.htm

State Yellow Pages flyers are in pdf so they are printer-friendly.

Here are some ways you can help.

Ask your school, public library, day care center, and support group to post your state flyers on their bulletin boards and websites.

Ask your child's teacher to post your state Yellow Pages flyer in the teacher's lounge and guidance office. Ask the school to include the flyer in your school newspaper too!

Ask your PTA or SEPTA to distribute the flyer. State Yellow Pages Flyers are great to distribute at conferences, seminars, training programs, and workshops.

Forward flyers to your friends and family members who live in other states.

Access all state flyers from this page: http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/state.flyers.htm


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

"What a marvelous conference! I often leave sped presentations angry and/or guilty because of all the things that have been done or not done. This time I left encouraged, inspired and armed!"

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, Northern VA

November 15: Syracuse NY

December 6: Oklahoma City OK (FREE to Oklahoma parents)

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

If you are interested in learning how to get Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.


8. 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.yellowpagesforkids.com

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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