The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
April 29, 2002

Issue - 162

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

What is Your IEP IQ?

Your Child's IEP: Practical & Legal Guidance

IEPs: Frequently Asked Questions

Help! The School Wants to Retain My Child!

Good Case About IEPs: Kanawha v. Michael M.

Editor's Choice; Good Books About IEPs

Advocacy Training: OK, CA, IL & FL

Subscription & Contact Info




At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education. This issue is the first in a series about IEPs. When you master this information, you will be prepared for the next IEP meeting!

Highlights: What is your IEP IQ? - take our quiz and find out; frequently asked questions about IEPs; practical and legal guidance about your child's IEP; facts about retention; caselaw about IEPs; editor's choice - good books about IEPs; advocacy training schedule.

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!


Do you want to learn more about special education advocacy? Learn how you can start a FETA Study Group.


We added new subjects to our Free Newsletter Flyer - which has grown to two pages. We hope you will print and distribute the new 2 page Free Newsletters Flyer


Ask your school to include the Free Newsletter flyer in the school newsletter too!

1. What is Your IEP IQ?

To be an effective advocate for a child with special educational needs, you need to know the law. You also need to know how to use the law without starting battles that no one wins.

Most parents and teachers get information about the law from training sessions, articles, advice on listservs, and informal discussions with others. Your knowledge can rise no higher than your source!

As a parent or teacher, you must learn to find answers to your questions by reading the law. Test your knowledge - take our IEP Quiz.


2 Your Child's IEP: Practical & Legal Guidance for Parents

Your Child's IEP is one of the top articles on Wrightslaw. This comprehensive article describes IEPs and the IEP process, including:

Present levels of performance Is IEP Adequate? Sufficient?
Measurable goals and objectives Educational Benefit and FAPE
How to Measure Educational Progress  A Valuable Tool: Appendix A
Objective Testing v. Subjective Observations Understanding the Parental Role
Passing Grades and Grade Inflation  Sample IEP Goals

Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance for Parents is the second most popular article on Wrightslaw:


and the companion article to Understanding Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Advocate and Attorney (#1):


3. Frequently Asked Questions About IEPs

If you are a 'new parent,' this article will answer important questions. And if you are a seasoned veteran, we think you will learn something new in Frequently Asked Questions About IEPs. The article includes 14 Qs & As:

My child is eligible - what happens next?
What is an IEP?
Who develops my child's IEP?
What can I do to prepare for the IEP meeting?
What are related services? What is assistive technology?
How is placement decided? What options do I have?
Can my child's IEP be changed?


4. Help! The School Wants to Retain My Child - What Should I Do?

Peggy writes, "The school wants to retain my child. They say if he is promoted, he will flounder in a class with 24 children and one teacher and will not get any additional help. Should I let them retain him? Should I push to have him promoted and placed in a regular education class? They say they know what's best for him."

Wrightslaw replies: "It sounds like the school gave you information about your options in a way that ensured you would make the "right" decision (from the school's perspective).

The child will "flounder" - and the school won't help? The school will not provide an individualized IEP with services and supports that are designed to meet the child's unique needs - as they are required to do under the IDEA? Sadly, you are not alone with this problem.

If you have a child with a disability, you may face this tough decision. Many schools offer two "solutions" to children's learning problems: retention and social promotion - and do not offer what the child really needs - an intensive program that focuses on teaching the basic skills.

There is no evidence that retention helps children who are struggling academically. Before you request a meeting to revisit this issue, you need to get accurate information about retention.

Read The School Wants to Retain My Child - What Should I Do? at:


Remember - you can request an IEP meeting at any time. It's not to late to change plans for next year. The resources in this article should help.

5. Good Case About IEPs: Kanawha v. Michael M.

In Kanawha v. Michael M., the Court analyzes "appropriate" in the context of Rowley, discusses educational benefit, and provides guidelines about whether an IEP is appropriate.
Kanawha v. Michael M
is one of Pete's favorite cases "not because it has great precedence, but because it does an excellent job of describing difficulties in the legal definition of 'appropriate' and how to use ''appropriate' in developing an IEP.

Decision (22 pages in pdf): https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/WV_kanawha_michaelm_00_04.pdf

For more cases about IEPs, go to the IEP Page and scroll down to the Caselaw section:


Be sure to download and read our comprehensive article, Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance for Parents- this article includes several cases about IEPs.

6. Editor's Choice: Good Books About IEPs

The heart of your child's special education program is the Individualized Education Program (IEP). These books will teach you how to write IEP goals and objectives that target your child's problems.

* Measuring Educational Results by Robert Mager *

"Where can I learn to write good IEP goals and objectives?" In the best selling book on this subject, Robert Mager teaches you how to write clear measurable IEP goals and objectives. 


* Preparing Instructional Objectives by Robert Mager *

Teaches you to identify, select, and write educational objectives. You learn how to describe the performances you expect to achieve, identify the conditions under which you expect the performance to occur, and set criteria for acceptable performance.

practice exercises to sharpen your skills and an Objectives Checklist to help you distinguish good objectives from bad ones.


* Better IEPS: How to Develop Legally Correct and Educationally Useful Programs by Barbara D. Bateman and Mary Anne Linden *

Better IEPs
teaches parents, educators, and special educators how to develop IEPs that are both legally correct and educationally useful. Many IEPs are neither! Learn more about  Better IEPs


More Good Books About IEPs

For more good books about IEPs, visit the IEP section of the Advocate's Bookstore:


7. Wrightslaw Advocacy Training: May & June 2002

Knowledge is power. When you have information and skills, you will be a more effective advocate for your child. Our role is to help you gain knowledge so you can negotiate with the school on your child's behalf.

On May 2, we hit the road with advocacy training programs in Oklahoma City, Sacramento, and Chicago. In June, we travel to Orlando. We hope you will join us!

May 7: Oklahoma City.


May 11: Sacramento, CA.


May 25-26: Chicago, IL at International Rett Syndrome Conference


June 21: Orlando, Florida (details soon)

These one-day advocacy seminars focus on four areas: special education law, rights and responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and how to use tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

For more information about these events and programs that will be held over the next few months, please check our Seminars & Training page:


How to Plan a Training Program or Seminar

If you wan to bring 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, tactics and strategy, and Internet resources. Subscribers receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. 

To subscribe. Read back issues of Special Ed Advocate.

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Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
ISSN: 1538-3202
Pete and Pam Wright
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