Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
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.
Do you feel helpless and frustrated? The best way to combat negative feelings is by helping others.
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:
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).
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.
Sue Heath put together a list of resources about testing and accountability.
Letter about Assessment of Students with Disabilities from Secretary of Education (includes information about assessing students with severe cognitive impairments) http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/030627.html
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."
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?"
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.
this article, you will learn:
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.
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.
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 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.
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!)
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.