Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
January 12, 2005


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Issue - 293
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue


Message from the Editor

Test Scores Falling, Mom Needs Help

Getting an Independent Evaluation at School Expense

Do Parents Have to Select Evaluator from Approved List?

Highly Qualified Special Ed Teachers

Helping for Teachers Being "Pushed Out"

Fed Up! Filing a Complaint with the State

New Issue of The Beacon on Disability Harassment

Wrightslaw Programs in FL, NJ, NY, IN, AZ

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need navigate the challenging, changing world of special education.

Highlights: Child's test scores falling, mom needs help; how to get an independent evaluation at school's expense; do parents have to select evaluator from school's approved list; highly qualified special ed teachers; help for teachers being "pushed out"; filing a complaint with the state; new issue of The Beacon on harassment; Wrightslaw programs in FL, NJ, NY, IN, AZ. Download this newsletter.

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (2004 Alexa rankings)


1. Message from the Editor

We get thousands of questions from readers. Some questions come up again and again - and from time to time, we answer them in the newsletter. Here is the latest crop, along with our answers.


2. My Child's Test Scores Falling, School Doesn't Care - What Can I Do?

"I received my son's test results. He scored at the 2nd percentile in language arts (lower than ever). There were no scores in math. I am angry. Who is responsible? They don't care about my child. What can I do?"

Sue Heath answers this parent's plea for help: "Although it is normal to feel angry and frustrated when your child needs help, this won't help in the long run. If you focus on who is to blame, you are likely to burn out before you devise a plan to solve his problems."

"You need a game plan. Before you can devise a game plan, you need to gather information, manage your emotions, and do your homework." Read Sue's advice in Test Scores Dropping, School Doesn't Care.

Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, writes about creative advocacy strategies in Doing Your Homework. Read more articles in Doing Your Homework.


3. Can I Get an Independent Evaluation at the School District's Expense?

"I want to get an independent evaluation but can't afford one. A friend said I can get an independent evaluation at the school district's expense. This sounds too good to be true - is it?

Maybe not. If you have questions about independent educational evaluations (IEEs), including how to get an evaluation at the school district's expense, you need to read the new article, Independent Educational Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays? by attorney Wayne Steedman. He
describes IEEs, the value of IEEs for parents and school personnel, what the law requires, and who is financially responsible. Read article.

Learn more about evaluations.

Note: Pat Howey and Wayne Steedman will join forces to present a Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy program in Fort Wayne Indiana on March 25, 2005.


4. School Says We Must Use an Evaluator from Their "Approved List"

"My school district agreed to provide an independent evaluation but say we must use a psychologist on their "approved list." If we have to use their evaluator, how can the evaluation be independent? Can they do this?"

No. Because school districts were improperly requiring parents to select from lists of "approved evaluators," the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) published a Policy Letter about independent evaluations and parent choice in February 2004. The letter clarifies that parents have a right to choose their independent evaluator.

If you plan to request an independent educational evaluation, read Independent Evaluations: Must Parents Chose an Evaluator from School's Approved List?

The right to an Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) is a procedural safeguard that is intended to protect parents and children with disabilities.

Learn more about procedural safeguards and protections.


5. Am I a Highly Qualified Special Ed Teacher?

"I am almost afraid to ask this question. I will graduate from college with a degree in special education in two weeks. Will I meet the highly qualified teacher requirements in IDEA 2004?"

We answer this question in New Requirements for Highly Qualified Special Education Teachers in IDEA 2004.

If you are a student, make sure you can demonstrate competence in the subjects you plan to teach. If you are an education professor, please ensure that your students are familiar with the highly qualified teacher requirements in No Child Left Behind and IDEA 2004.

Learn more about No Child Left Behind.

Learn more about IDEA 2004.


6. Help for Teachers Who Are Being "Pushed Out" of Their Jobs

An attorney writes: "I have been approached by highly qualified teachers who are being pushed out of their positions by law changes. I am looking for guidance about how these caring teachers can continue to work."

In our answer, we describe the requirements for highly qualified teachers, how teachers can demonstrate competence in the subjects they teach, professional development & training, responsibilities, and timelines. Read Help for Teachers Who Are Being Pushed Out of Their Jobs.

Learn more about teachers, principals, paraprofessionals and NCLB.


7. Fed Up! Filing a Complaint with the State

"My child's IEP says he will receive 30 minutes of speech language therapy 3 times a week. He hasn't had speech therapy since mid-October when the therapist left. He is also supposed to have a full-time aide. The aides change every week and are not trained."

"I have tried to work with the school but nothing changes. I'm fed up. I don't want to request a due process hearing. What are your thoughts about filing a complaint with the state?"

Good question! Parent advocate Pat Howey shares her thoughts and experiences in What You Need to Know Before Filing a Complaint.

Learn more about effective advocacy.

Pat Howey and attorney Wayne Steedman will join forces to present a Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy program in Fort Wayne Indiana on March 25, 2005.


8. Coming Soon! New Issue Of The Beacon

The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice publishes articles and essays for attorneys, advocates and others who are interested in special education law and practice. Each issue focuses on a theme and includes practical and theoretical articles.

The next issue of The Beacon will focus on disability harassment in schools. Previous issues dealt with mediation, documents, expert witnesses, reading research, special education litigation, and high-stakes testing. Read these issues in the Beacon Archives.

You may subscribe to The Beacon from the Harbor House Law site.

Learn more about The Beacon. Get a list of free online newsletters about special education legal issues.


9. Put Wrightslaw Training on Your To-Do List

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Programs focus on these areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure educational progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

Winter Schedule

Orlando, FL: January 21-22, 2005 (Mini Boot Camp)

Cherry Hill, NJ: February 18-19, 2005 (Boot Camp)

Cincinnati, OH: February 23-24, 2005 SOLD OUT!

Long Island, NY: March 4-5, 2005 (Mini Boot Camp)

Fort Wayne, IN: March 25, 2005 (Advocacy Training) Attorney Wayne Steedman and advocate Pat Howey present a Wrightslaw Advocacy training program.

Glendale, AZ: April 1-2, 2005 (Boot Camp)

All participants in these programs will receive two books, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, with their registration (Value: $59.90).

I
f you are interested in bringing a Wrightslaw program to your community, please read FAQs about Seminars.


10. 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-2004 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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