At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the confusing, changing world of special education.
1. Special Issue: Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates
Hundreds of attorneys, advocates and parents gathered in Phoenix from March 30 to April 2 for the annual conference of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). When we returned home from this informative and inspiring conference, we decided to share some highlights of the conference and organization with you.
2. Gary Mayerson and Deal v. Hamilton County
Gary Mayerson, the attorney who represented the parents and child in Zachary Deal v. Hamilton County, gave the Keynote Address. He described high and low points in the Deal case which is regarded as one of the most important special education decisions in recent years.
* Predetermined child's placement - The school district pre-decided not to offer intensive ABA services, regardless of overwhelming evidence about the child's needs and the effectiveness of the ABA program.
* Failed to include a regular education teacher in IEP meetings
* Denied FAPE - The school district's "eclectic" program "provided little or no chance of self-sufficiency for an autistic child while, under the Lovaas approach, self-sufficiency is a real possibility."
The Court found that "While schools are not required to 'maximize' a child's potential, there is a point at which the difference in outcomes between two methods can be so great that provision of the lesser program could amount to denial of a FAPE."
Read the excellent decision in Zachary Deal v. Hamilton County Bd of Ed (TN) - http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/04/6th.deal.hamilton.tn.htm
Articles about legal fees charged to Hamilton County:
Experts, Plane Trips, Fine Hotels Pile Up Legal Tab For County Schools - Financially-Strapped Schools Billed For Luxury Hotel Stays (3/19/05)
3. Due Process Hearings, Expert Witnesses, Paper Trails, Trial Preparation, Attorneys' Fees
COPAA members are generous contributers of articles to Wrightslaw and The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice published by Harbor House Law Press.
4. Rowley, FAPE and High-Stakes Testing
Re-examing Rowley: A New Focus in Special Education Law - Attorney Scott Johnson argues that the "some educational benefit" standard in Rowley no longer reflects the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, that state standards and educational adequacy requirements provide the substantive requirements of FAPE, and that these standards exceed the "some educational benefit" benchmark. Read article
5. IDEA 2004, NCLB and 2005 Tax Issues
Attorney members of COPAA have practical advice too.
6. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Programs in PA, OH, MA, NY, DE
If you want to attend a Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Training Program before the 2005-2006 school year ends, you need act now. The last Boot Camp for this school year is in Lancaster PA on April 7-8!
April 7-8: Lancaster, PA - Special Ed Law & Advocacy BOOT CAMP.
Speakers: Pete Wright & Pam Wright. Register Online.
Download the Conference Brochure & Registration Form
Questions? Please contact Amy Koring at 717-431-9600 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 11: Springfield, MA - Special Education Law & Advocacy Training.
May 17: Rochester, NY - Special Ed Law & Advocacy Training.
June 7: Wilkes-Barre, PA - From Emotions to Advocacy Training sponsored by Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere (SAFE). Speaker: Pat Howey, advocate and author of Ask the Advocate articles. Details soon.
June 14: Rehobeth, DE - Special Ed Law & Advocacy Training sponsored by The Arc of Delaware ~ Parent Mentor Program. Speakers: Pete Wright & Pam Wright. Details soon.
2006 Schedule l Wrightslaw Programs
The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Newsletter subscribers also receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. Subscribe