Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
February 19, 2004


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In this Issue


Message from Pam & Pete Wright

Writing IEPs for Success

IEP Resources, Help

Letter from Advocacy Group about State Returning $$ to Feds

NCLB News: Info! Power! Action!

Free Pubs: LD, Bullying, Private School Students, More

Wrightslaw Programs in IL, IN, MI

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need navigate the confusing world of special education. In this issue, we look at IEPs and advocacy strategies.

Highlights: Message from Pam and Pete Wright about advocacy programs and Midwest Tour; writing IEPs for success; IEP resources and help; letter from advocates about state returning federal funds; NCLB news; free pubs about IEPs, reading, bullying, private school students, behavior & discipline; Wrightslaw programs in IL, IN, MI.

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (2003 Alexa rankings)

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! Download newsletter


1. Message from Pam & Pete Wright

We are publishing this issue of The Special Ed Advocate as we drive across Missouri on the way to Illinois (technology is wonderful!) As we drove along the Mississippi River, we stopped to watch bald eagles fishing and flying along the river - a beautiful sight.

Yesterday's program in Jefferson City "sold out" with more than 300 parents - some sat on the floor! We thank the MPACT staff for bringing us to Missouri and putting this program together. These folks are our heroes!

Over the next ten days, we will continue on the Midwest Tour with programs in Skokie, Indianapolis, and Troy, Michigan. These programs are selling out fast. Please join us!


2. Writing IEPs for Success

Frustrated with one-size fits all IEPs that are not tailored to your child's unique needs? Feel intimidated at IEP meetings? Worried that your child is not making progress in the special ed program? You aren't alone!

Dr. Barbara Bateman, author of Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives, is the nation's leading expert on IEPs. This is how Dr. Bateman describes IEPs and the IEP process:

"Most IEPs are useless or slightly worse, and too many teachers experience the IEP process as always time consuming, sometimes threatening, and, too often, a pointless bureaucratic requirement . . ."

"Parents who attempt to participate as equals are often intimidated into acquiescence. They are given false and outrageous distortions as, 'We (the district) don't provide individual tutoring'; or 'We are a full inclusion school and have no special classes or resource rooms because we don't believe in pullout programs.'"

"When these limiting and blatantly illegal practices are presented as if they are fact, few parents are prepared to challenge the school district."

Dr. Bateman is an expert on IEPs. In Writing IEPs for Success, Dr. Bateman walks you though the IEP process, step-by-step. If you want to participate in the IEP process, you need to learn how to write IEP goals and objectives that measure your child's progress.

Learn how to make the IEP product and process "educationally useful and legally correct" - download, print and read Writing IEPs for Success by Dr. Bateman.

Books by Dr. Bateman: Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives and Why Johnny's Doesn't Behave: 20 Tips for Measurable Behavior Intervention Plans.

Cindy Herr is co-author of Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives


3. IEP Resources: Articles, Cases, Tactics & Strategies, Tips, Free Pubs

Many people who visit Wrightslaw have questions about IEPs. Read What is Your IEP IQ (and take the IEP Quiz). Our IEP Resources Page has dozens of articles, tips, FAQs, law, regulations, tactics and strategies, and free publications.

More about IEPs.

More Topics


4. Advocacy: States Return Millions to Feds - What One Advocacy Group is Doing

A few weeks ago, we learned that states had returned millions in unspent education funds to the federal government. Sue Heath, author of the popular Doing Your Homework columns, wrote States Send Millions Back to Feds! Lack of Federal Funds? Not Really.

Oregon Parents United were concerned when they learned that their state returned $692,000 in unspent funds - especially when Oregon school districts are telling parents that children cannot receive special Ed services because of "lack of funds."

"As parents and advocates for Oregon’s disabled children, we would like to know why this money was not used for our children, wasting a scarce and substantial resource in scarce times."

Oregon Parents United
wrote a letter to their state leaders expressing their concerns and requesting answers to specific questions. If you want to see how an individual or group has used information in States Send Millions Back to Feds to advocate for children with disabilities, read the Letter from Oregon Parents United.

More about effective Advocacy.


5. No Child Left Behind News - Information! Power! Action!

Two weeks ago, when the U. S. Department of Education launched the School Information Partnership Site, Secretary Paige said, "Information is power . . . the performance of our educational system can no longer be hidden in the shadows."

School Information Partnership Site - Do you want to know how your state, school district or school is doing? This site offers timely, relevant, and comparable data about schools, school districts, and states so parents, educators and policymakers can make informed decisions and improve school results.

States Take Action on Failing Schools

States are beginning to deal with failing schools, as required by NCLB. These articles will show you what three states are doing to improve their failing (low-performing) schools.

Minnesota Takes Steps Toward Takeover Authority. Governor Tim Pawlenty has announced that he will ask the legislature to give the state authority to take over failing schools and districts.

Louisiana Moves Forward with Takeover Plan. The Louisiana Board of Education approved a process that allows groups ranging from universities to nonprofits to apply for the job of taking over and running 14 failing schools in the Orleans Parrish education system.

Nebraska Approves Penalties for Low-Performing Schools. The Nebraska State Board of Education approved proposed penalties for low-performing schools; sends "strong message to low-performing school districts that immediate and intensive efforts are needed to improve assessment quality and student performance."

More No Child Left Behind News & Commentary

Learn How No Child Left Behind Will Affect You


6. Free Pubs: IEPs, Reading, Bullying, Private School Students, Discipline & Behavior

One obstacle in advocating for a child with a disability is finding the time to do research. We spend hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.

Our Free Pubs Page has dozens of free publications and resources about IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, mental health, harassment, high-stakes testing, discipline and behavior plans, retention, zero tolerance and more. Here is a sample of publications you can download from the Free Pubs Page:

A Guide to the Individualized Education Program (U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services) How to write IEPs that improve teaching, learning, and educational results.

Teaching Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do (American Federation of Teachers). "Research shows that a child who doesn't learn the reading basics early is unlikely to learn them at all. Any child who doesn't learn to read early and well will not easily master other skills and knowledge and is unlikely to ever flourish in school or in life."

Schoolwide Prevention of Bullying (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory) Did you know that 30 percent of children are involved in bullying, as bullies, victims, or both? Did you know that approximately 15 percent are “severely traumatized or distressed” by bullies? Yet, teachers rarely report bullying. Schools often do not take it seriously. This booklet provides an overview of bullying and successful efforts that schools can use to address it; profiles anti-bullying programs and offers resources.

Children with Disabilities Placed By Their Parents in Private Schools: An IDEA Practices Toolkit. (U. S. Department of Education) Provides clear explanations of the procedures about educating of students with disabilities who are voluntarily placed by their parents in private schools. This toolkit is designed to help parents, staff and administrators of public and private schools.

Suspending Disbelief - Moving Beyond Punishment to Promote Effective Interventions for Children with Mental or Emotional Disorders (Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law). Prevention and early intervention for children with emotional disorders; functional behavior assessments; positive behavioral interventions; how it works in real life.

More Free Pubs


7. February Schedule: Wrightslaw Programs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan

Wrightslaw programs scheduled for this winter are filling up fast. If you plan to attend, register soon. If you wait, you may find that the program in your area is sold out!

February: Midwest Tour

Jefferson City, Missouri -February 17, 2004 - SOLD OUT!
Skokie, Illinois - February 21, 2004
Indianapolis, Indiana - February 24, 2004
Troy, Michigan
- February 28, 2004

Spring 2004: NH, AK, MD, AL

Manchester, New Hampshire (Boot Camp) - March 26-27, 2004
Juneau, Alaska (Boot Camp) - April 8-9, 2004
Anchorage, Alaska  (Boot Camp)- April 13-14, 2004
Annapolis, Maryland (Boot Camp) - April 30-May 1, 2004
Birmingham, Alabama - May 25, 2004

For more programs, please check our Seminars & Training page.

If
you are interested in bringing Pete and Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars. (We are scheduling programs for 2005-2006.)


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 Seminars & Training
Advocacy Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA Reauthorization Newsletter Archives

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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