The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
July 17, 2002

Issue - 171

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Facts About Teacher Quality, Training & Certification

Q & A: Failing Schools & the No Child Left Behind Act

Update on FETA Cruise

IDEA News: President's Commission Issues Report

Learning Disabilities & Early Identification

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law Goes Into 8th Printing - More Than 25,000 in Print

Free Pubs for Parents, School Personnel

Subscription & Contact Info

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At Wrightslaw, we help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education.

Highlights: New report about teacher quality cites need for sweeping changes in teacher education & certification; answers to questions about the 8,652 failing schools; update on FETA Cruise II; IDEA 2002 news - President's Commission issues report and recommendations; learning disabilities and early intervention; law book goes into 8th printing - more than 25,000 in print; new "free pubs" for parents & school personnel.

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? Start a FETA Study Group!


1. The Facts About Teacher Quality, Training & Certification: Are We Destroying the Future, One Child at a Time?

The No Child Left Behind Act calls for highly qualified teachers — teachers who demonstrate subject knowledge and skills in reading, writing, mathematics and other basic subject areas — to be in every classroom by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

In June, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige published the "Teacher Quality Report" and issued a call to action for states to transform their teacher certification systems. States need to raise standards and lower barriers that prevent many highly qualified individuals from pursuing teaching careers.

Dr. Paige cited facts to support his claim that "The National report cards show we are destroying that future—one child at a time."

* Two out of three 4th graders cannot read proficiently.
* Seven out of 10 inner-city and rural 4th graders cannot read at the most basic level.
* Nearly one-third of college freshmen need remedial classes before they can handle entry level courses.
* 12th graders rank among the lowest in math and science of all industrialized nations.

Are you concerned about the quality of your child's education? Do you think teachers need to be better educated? Do you think teachers need ongoing training? Good! We agree.

In "The Facts About Teacher Training & Certification: Are We Destroying the Future, One Child at a Time?" we look at teacher quality, training and certification. Learn about the findings of the Teacher Quality Report, check your state's pass rates for teachers, and learn more about the No Child Left Behind Act.


2. Q & A: Failing Schools, the No Child Left Behind Act & "Reality"

Last week's article, 8,652 Failing Schools and The No Child Left Behind Act, caused many folks to write.

Your #1 question was "How can I get a list of the failing schools in my state?" Other people had questions about how lists of failing schools are compiled and whether all states use similar standards.

A few people wrote to discuss inequities - and requested that we change the focus of our newsletters:

"We have more than our fair share of failing schools here in Chicago, about three percent of the 8,652 failing schools are Chicago. The Illinois State Legislature is prohibiting student transfers from failing Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to CPS magnet schools. In future newsletters, please look at the reality of the No Child Left Behind Act's provisions, not the theory."

What do you think?

For our answers to these questions and concerns, read Q & A: Failing Schools, "Reality" and the No Child Left Behind Act.


3. From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise II - January 15-20, 2003

Do you want to learn more about special education advocacy? Do you think you will need a break from the winter doldrums by January?

Join Pete and Pam Wright on the From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise II - A Very Special Cruise Seminar and Fund-Raiser for Special Education.


On Wednesday, January 15, 2003 (the day before sailing), Pete and Pam Wright will conduct an advocacy training program at the Radisson Resort Hotel in Port Canaveral.

On Thursday, participants will board Carnival Cruise Lines' "Fantasy" for a three-day cruise to the Bahamas. The ship will leave Port Canaveral, Florida on Thursday, January 16 and return on Sunday, January 20, 2003.

For more information, visit the FETA Cruise Page at:


Download the FETA Cruise Flyer and share it with your friends. Start a FETA Study Group with the cruise as a reward for folks who complete the program.


What can you expect on the From Emotions to Advocacy Cruise? Read The Inside Story of the 2002 FETA Cruise.


4. IDEA News! President's Commission on Excellence in Special Ed Issues Report

On July 9, 2002, the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education issued its report, A New Era: Revitalizing Special Education for Children and their Families with findings and recommendations to improve the educational performance of students with disabilities.

The President's Commission made three main recommendations:

* Focus on results -- not on process;
* Embrace a model of prevention not a model of failure; and
* Consider children with disabilities as general education children first.

The Commission stressed the importance of:

* accountability for results,
* parental input, and
* efficient, compassionate ways to improve outcomes in school settings.

Learn more about A New Era: Revitalizing Special Education for Children and Their Families at:


Download a copy of A New Era: Revitalizing Special Education:


5. More IDEA News - Learning Disabilities & Early Intervention Strategies

On June 6, 2002, a Congressional committee held a hearing on "Learning Disabilities and Early Intervention Strategies: How to Reform the Special Education Referral and Identification Process."
This article includes a summary of testimony by several experts during the hearing.

This article clarifies some issues Congress will face when they tackle reauthorization of the IDEA. After you read
Learning Disabilities and Early Intervention Strategies, you will know who said:

"Does the education profession create instructional casualties by inadequately preparing both general education and special education teachers to address learning differences among children?


6. Wrightslaw: Special Education Law Goes Into 8th Printing - More than 25,000 Books in Print

Makes you feel you have an attorney at the IEP table with you!" Janie B., parent advocate, Washington

"What I would have given for such a wonderful resource at IEP meetings for my sons!" Sandra Britt, Past President, Learning Disabilities Association of America.

A must have for any parent fighting for services!” - Steve, parent advocate, New York

Read more reviews from parents, attorneys and advocates, psychologists and special educators at


Learn more about Wrightslaw: Special Education Law


Internet Orders: https://www.wrightslaw.com/store/index.html

Phone, Fax, Mail Orders: https://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/orderform.htm

"One of most important how-to manuals ever written." Thom Hartmann (author of ADD: A Different Perception; Beyond ADD; and more) “Will help you navigate through special education, and use the law to get a good education for your child."

7. New Free Pubs: Good Teaching; How to Teach Reading; Professional Development for Teachers & Principals; Survey of Special Ed Families

Good Teaching Matters: How Well-Qualified Teachers Can Close the Gap (16 pages, pdf).

This report synthesizes recent research which shows that teachers are the single most significant factor related to student achievement. Argues that the best investment states and districts can make for students is assuring a well-qualified teacher for every child.

Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do by Louisa Moats, published by the American Federation of Teachers (36 pages, pdf).


"Reading is the fundamental skill upon which all formal instruction depends. 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."

Public Agenda recently published results of a structured survey of more than 500 parents of special needs children entitled When It's Your Own Child: A Report on Special Education from the Families Who Use It.

What did they learn? About two-thirds of the parents gave their children's schools high marks for providing help; 43% said they had to fight to get services for their children; 16% have considered or threatened to sue; one-third ranked their children's schools as 'fair' or 'poor' in providing help; nearly half did not think special education programs are preparing their children for the 'real world.'

You can download a free copy of this report until July 19, 2002:


After July 19, 2002, you can order print copies of When It's Your Own Child for $10, plus $2.00 shipping and handling. For info, call 212-686-6610.

Designing Powerful Professional Development for Teachers and Principals, National Staff Development Council (2002).

For most teachers and principals, professional development is unfocused, insufficient, and irrelevant to the day-to-day problems they face. This 14 chapter book focuses on ways to improve the quality of professional learning for school personnel. Download Instructions

Free Pubs Library

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Free Pubs Library for free books and publications on dozens of subjects, from autism to IEPs to zero tolerance:


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