The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
June 6, 2001

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Issue: 117
ISSN: 1538-3202

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Highlights: Wrightslaw has a new navigation system and a new look. Have a question? Visit our new Topics page for links to dozens of articles by topic. Read Pete's testimony about reforming the Hearing Officer system in Virginia.

Subscribers as of June 5 2001: 25,651

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1. Wrightslaw - New Navigation System and New Look

Although we cannot respond personally to all email, we do read and learn from your notes. We love compliments:

"You have started little fires around the country. While this wouldn't happen without the Internet, even with the Internet, this would not happen without you two and your site."

"I want to thank you for all the helpful info on your site. I consider your site my Bible -- with this info, I am a better informed parent and am becoming a better advocate."

"I thought I knew all the law, but reading your website is educating me! I am so grateful to you for making this available on the web. Thanks!"

"Let me express my admiration regarding your website. It is the most informative, accurate, and user-friendly educational law related place on the Internet."

You also have advice and suggestions:

"I have gone nuts searching for things on your site! I recommend your site to everyone but cannot send a new parent there to learn about the system "from the top." The main things missing from your site are:


(1) An overall organization that tells a new parent where to start.

(2) Your navigation bar and on-site search engine should be on every page in the same position so site visitors can navigate your site more easily and know that they can always look up a keyword from wherever they are.

If you have "gone nuts" looking for information, please visit the newly designed Wrightslaw site.

We are organizing information by topic. If you are looking for information about a specific topic, please visit the new Topics Page.

2. Find Information by Topic

The new Topics Page includes information and links about these topics:

Assistive Technology
High-stakes Testing
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
Letter Writing & Documentation
Parent Rights & Responsibilities
Records and Privacy
Reimbursement for Private Placements
School Culture
Section 504
School Responsibilities
Teacher's Rights

Visit the new Topics Page. Let us know what you think!

3. We Need Your Help

Suggestions. We will continue to add more articles about these topics. If you have a favorite article from the old Wrightslaw site that you want us to include, please send the article or link to us.

In the subject line of your message, write ADD TO NEW WRIGHTSLAW (in CAPS)

Broken Links. There are several hundred files on the Wrightslaw site. Each file has links. When a site is redesigned, links are broken. If you find a broken link, please send an email to brokenlink@wrightslaw.com

Warning. Some parts of the site still have the old design. We hope to complete the redesign within the next week or so. This process is very labor-intensive so please be patient.

4. Pete Testifies About Changes to Hearing Officer System in Virginia

In 2000, the National Council on Disability published the IDEA Compliance Report, "Back to School on Civil Rights," and found that no state was in compliance with the IDEA. This report concluded that parents are the main "enforcers" of the IDEA.

"As a result of 25 years of nonenforcement by the Federal Government, parents are still a main enforcement vehicle for ensuring compliance with IDEA."

Since the IDEA Compliance Report was published, many people have taken a closer look at the system. We found state departments of education that do not require local school districts to comply with the law. In many states, hearing officers are inexperienced and poorly trained. Who do inexperienced Hearing Officers turn to for advice? State Departments of Education!

On June 3, Pete testified about the need to change the Hearing Officer system in Virginia. Read his testimony.


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