The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
September 26, 2002

Issue - 180

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

What You Should Know About Evaluations

Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate & Attorney

50% Off Wrightslaw Books

Using an Expert as a Resource

How High Are the Stakes in High-Stakes Testing?

New High-Stakes Lawsuits in MA, CA, IN, OR

Free Pubs: High-Stakes Testing

More Free Pubs - Dozens of Topics

Alert: Nevada School Brutality Cases

Subscription & Contact Info

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Dear $subst('Recip.FirstName'),

At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education. In this issue, we look at ways to start the new school year on the right foot.

Highlights: What you should know about evaluations; tests and measurements for parents, educators, advocates and attorneys; 50% discount on Wrightslaw books; how high are high-stakes tests - a student's perspective; high-stakes lawsuit filed in Mass, other lawsuits suits in CA, OR, IN;

Download online version of newsletter: https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/nwltr/2002/nl.0926.htm

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!


1. What You Should Know About Evaluations by Bob Crabtree, Esq.

"As a parent, you must make sure that all areas of possible need are assessed as quickly as possible. While some parents would rather not allow their school system to evaluate their child, a refusal to cooperate at this stage of the process can backfire if you need to ask for more or for different services later. It may also affect your ability to have the school system pay for an independent evaluation."

Learn about your rights, your never-ending role, due process hearings, selecting an evaluator, and working with an evaluator in "What You Should Know About Evaluations" by Bob Crabtree.


2. Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney by Pete & Pam Wright

Your child has received special education for three years. Has your child caught up with the peer group? Has your child fallen further behind? How can you tell?

What do standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalents mean?

To successfully negotiate for services that provide educational benefit, parents need to know how to interpret test scores. Tests & Measurements is required reading for ALL our clients. To ensure that you have the graphics in this article, print the article from the screen (rather than download it).


Now available in a "printer-friendly format" (see link from main article)

Download Tests & Measurements Slide Show as a PowerPoint Presentation (204kb)

3. Planning a Conference or Training Program? Get 50% Discount on Wrightslaw Books

Are you planning a conference? Are you training parents or teachers?

Harbor House Law Press
offers a special 50% discount to advocacy organizations and individuals who provide advocacy training and/or training. This discount is available for boxes of 20 books, 40 books, 60 books, etc. (minimum order is 20 books).

Savings are greater on larger purchases:

* Buy 3 boxes (60 books), get free shipping

* Buy 4 boxes (80 books), get free shipping and another box (20 books) free.

Learn about the Advocacy Challenge Discount:


Use Wrightslaw books to educate others and and earn money!

4. Using an Expert as an Effective Resource by Jennifer Bollero, Esq.

Attorney-author Jennifer Bollero explains why parents should rely on advice from trained professionals to make informed decisions about educational interventions. You will learn why medical experts should advise parents to seek the best medical and therapeutic treatments - and why a request for the "best" education from the school is fatal.

Using an Expert as an Effective Resource:


5. How High Are the Stakes in High-Stakes Testing? A Student's Perspective

High expectations? Fairness? Accountability? Most people have strong opinions about these issues. Confident that you have the answers?

On September 19, a lawsuit was filed against the state department of education and Holyoke school district on behalf of six students from the Holyoke and Springfield area. The suit alleges that the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam discriminates against students with disabilities, minority students, and students with limited-English skills.

Learn about this new high stakes lawsuit - and how high the stakes can be in How High are the Stakes in High Stakes Testing? A Student's Perspective:


6. More High-Stakes Lawsuits: Indiana, California, Oregon

In 1999, Pete wrote, "IDEA requirements about assessing disabled children on state testing may lead parents to realize that their child is not benefiting from special education. Litigation may begin sooner when this part of the statute takes effect." (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, page 48-49)

Since 1999, lawsuits have been filed in in several states, including California, Oregon, and Indiana. Last week, advocates filed a high-stakes lawsuit in Massachusetts.

The Oregon lawsuit on behalf of dyslexic students settled when the state accepted recommendations by a panel of experts about testing students with disabilities.
Students with Learning Disabilities Settle Class Action Suit Against Oregon


Disabilities Rights Advocates files lawsuit against California Dept of Education; claims that exit exam discriminates because it does not provide for an alternate assessment, provides no procedure for requesting accommodations, nor a process for appeals. Read Lawsuit Against High Stakes Test Filed in California:


Battles about high-stakes tests are flaring up around the country: issues include high expectations v. accountability, due process rights, obligations to teach basic skills. Read Indiana Judge Asked for Injunction So Seniors Can Graduate:


7. Free Pubs: High Stakes Testing

Disability Rights Advocates, Do No Harm - High Stakes Testing and Students with Learning Disabilities (2001).

Describes accommodations, alternate assessments, appeals, procedures, and other safeguards that should be implemented for statewide assessment systems to comply with the law and guarantee educationally sound opportunities to students with learning disabilities. Dowload from http://www.dralegal.org/
To order bound copies, contact Disability Rights Advocates, 449 15th Street, Suite 303. Oakland, CA 94612-2821. Phone: 510-451-8644

Center on Education Policy, State High School Exit Exams: A Baseline Report (2002).

This report Includes data collected from all states with exit exams; information from case studies in five states; review of major research; recommendations to ensure that exit exams are implemented well and lead to greater learning.

Copies of full report are $10.00 (includes postage and handling). You can download the full report free from:

8. More Free Pubs

ne obstacle in advocating for a child with a disability is finding the time to do research. We spend hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.

Visit our Free Pubs page, download publications about IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, children's mental health, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention and social promotion, zero tolerance and discipline. The contents of this page will change as we add new publications.

9. Alert: New Decision in Nevada School Brutality Cases

On September 23, we sent an Alert about the new decision from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the long-running school brutality cases against Clark County Public Schools. The court reversed the District Court and ruled that school personnel do not have immunity.

The Alert and decisions are now available on the site. Download
Witte v. Clark County Schools & Eason v. Clark County Schools: New Decision in School Brutality Cases from:


10. 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: https://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Back issues: https://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

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Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
ISSN: 1538-3202
Pete and Pam Wright
P. O. Box 1008
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