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Creative Solutions Contest #2

Some visitors to Wrightslaw write about problems with schools. Others write about creative "win-win" solutions to problems with schools. 
To SOLVE school problems, you must learn to think creatively. Don't allow yourself to get bogged down in anger, resentment, helplessness, and other negative emotions. Don't waste your energy debating about the unfairness of the situation. (We know this is hard, but it's necessary to your success.)

On August 28, 2000, we began our second CREATIVE SOLUTIONS CONTEST. Here is how the Contest works. First, read "The Problem" as described in a letter we received from a Distressed Teacher. 

“How can people who work in the system do the right thing and advocate for our children -- without losing our jobs?"

Dear Wrightslaw:
I am a special educator who has worked in the field for more than 20 years. I am having serious problems with my administration. I don’t know what to do.
When I returned to school this month, I found that the IEPs for several of my students had been changed by the administration. Services like speech therapy and P.T. were reduced or eliminated. Placements were changed. Instead of mingling with other kids and being part of the student body, several students were placed in self-contained classes. Most of these students are labeled LD and have behavior problems. They can do well in regular classrooms if they have support.
All of these changes were made by the administration, without the parents’ knowledge or consent.
My signature was “forged” on three IEPs. Other people’s signatures were placed in IEPs when these individuals did not attend IEP meetings – and when no IEP meeting was held. 
Please don’t suggest that I talk to my supervisor. She’s a big part of the problem. She has never worked in the classroom and is not knowledgeable about special education. Special educators have learned that we cannot trust her. She promises to do one thing, then does the opposite. Since she took over, many regular ed teachers refuse to follow the students’ IEPs – there are no consequences for this. Many experienced, dedicated special ed teachers did not return this year – we lost nearly one-third of our special ed teaching staff.
As background, I have an adult child with learning disabilities. Before I became an educator, I was her advocate.
I guess my real question is this: “How can people who work in the system do the right thing and advocate for our children -- without losing our jobs?

Your Creative Solution 

Do you have a Creative Solution that may help this distressed teacher? 

Send your Creative Solution by email to:

In the subject line of your email, write CREATIVE SOLUTIONS CONTEST #2

TIPS:  Before you send your Solution, please re-read and edit it. Use a Spell-check program. Your Solution will be posted on the Wrightslaw site so it should be clear and readable. 

CAUTION: Please do not send your Solution as an attachment to an email. We have been hit by worms and viruses, so we do not open attachments to emails. Please send your Solution in an email in text format. 

DEADLINE: The deadline for Creative Solutions Contest #2 is Monday, SEPTEMBER 4, 2000 at midnight, ET.

JUDGING PROCESS: After we format the Creative Solutions in html and publish them on the Wrightslaw site, we'll ask newsletter subscribers to vote for your favorite Solution. We'll tally your votes and publish the results of the Creative Solutions Contest on the site. Newsletter subscribers will receive updates about the Contest, how to cast your vote, and an announcement about the winning Solutions. 


1st Prize: The Wrightslaw Deluxe Combo Pak (includes Wrightslaw: Special Education Law with Legal Companion CD-ROM and the Wrightslaw Tactics and Strategy Manual (Value: $55.00) 

2nd Prize: Wrightslaw Combo Pak (includes Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and the Wrightslaw Tactics and Strategy Manual (Value: $45.00) 

3rd Prize: Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, Deluxe Edition with Legal Companion CD-ROM (Value: $39.95)

NOTE: Prizes are more than just our stuff. Last year's contest winners also received positive recognition. Part of your "prize" is showing others how to use the Internet to help others, creating a positive "ripple effect." 

First Creative Solutions Contest 

Learn more about the Wrightslaw Creative Solutions Contest, how the idea evolved, read other Creative Solutions, learn how winners were selected and why. 

Read the "Story behind the Story" - and how John Willis and Becky Milton joined forces to help "Georgia Mom" - in the October 21, 1999 issue of The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter.

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