The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
February 12, 2003

Issue - 197

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Retention & FAPE: What Does The Research Say?

Retention, Social Promotion & High Stakes Tests

NCLB FAQs: Measuring Progress

New! No Child Left Behind Flyer

Send This Page To A Friend!

Conference Planning? Get 50% Off On Wrightslaw Books

Wrightslaw: Advocacy Training: Feb-April 2003

Subscription & Contact Info

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In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we look at retention, social promotion, and high-stakes testing; answer your questions about No Child Left Behind; offer a new No Child Left Behind flyer; introduce new features on Wrightslaw, our spring advocacy training schedule; info about 50% discount on Wrightslaw books.

Download online version of this newsletter: https://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.0212.htm

The Special Ed Advocate 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. Thanks!


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Html: https://www.wrightslaw.com/flyers/wrightslaw2.flyer.htm

Pdf: https://www.wrightslaw.com/flyers/wrightslaw2.flyer.pdf

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1. Retention & FAPE: What Does The Research Say?

“Help! The school wants to retain my child. They say they know what is best for him. I do not know what to do. Should I push to have him promoted and placed in a regular education class? Should I let them retain him?”

What do you think about retention? Read "Retention & FAPE: What Does the Research Say?" at:


2. Retention, Social Promotion & High Stakes Tests

Every week, we receive dozens of emails about retention, social promotion and high-stakes testing from parents and teachers.

As states implement high-stakes tests, some school districts are refusing to allow children to have accommodations that were written into the IEP. In some cases, kids who fail these high stakes tests are retained.

There is clear evidence that retention does not work - and that it damages children. Despite this, many school districts continue to use this outmoded policy.

If you are dealing with a school district that wants to retain a child, it is essential that you arm yourself with facts, studies, and data that support your position. For articles and position papers about retention and social promotion, please visit our new “Retention & Social Promotion Resources” page:


This page includes links to articles about retention and social promotion from the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Federation of Teachers -- and the U. S. Department of Education.

When you read “Grade Retention – Achievement & Mental Health Outcomes” from the National Association of School Psychologists, you will learn that:

“Sixth grade students rated retention as the single most stressful life event, higher than the loss of a parent or going blind. Retained students are less likely to receive a high school diploma by age 20, receive poorer educational competence ratings, and are less likely to be enrolled in any post-secondary education program. Retained students receive lower educational and employment status ratings and are paid less per hour at age 20.”

When you read “Two Wrong Solutions” from the American Federation of Teachers, you will learn that:

"Social promotion and grade retention are mechanical responses to an educational problem. The scandal is how little attention they give to preventing failure in the first place."

STRATEGY: If you are dealing with a retention problem, we recommend that you make copies of these articles for members of your child's team. These articles are from politically correct sources and will provide support for your position that retention is NOT an appropriate intervention.

For more articles, visit the Wrightslaw Retention & Social Promotion page at:


If you are dealing with a high stakes testing problem, please check our High Stakes Testing Page at:


To see other topics, go to: https://www.wrightslaw.com/topics.htm

3. NCLB FAQs: Measuring Progress

You have questions about No Child Left Behind - about parents' rights, school choice, teacher and paraprofessional training, how progress will be measured, and more. We decided to add a new section to The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter for "Frequently Asked NCLB Questions & Answers."

This week's question is from a California school psychologist:

"I am a psychologist and have a question about NCLB. As I read it, all kids need to be on grade level as measured by statewide assessments. As a psychologist, I don't get it."

"1) Grade equivalents are not valid. 2) Students' scores on the state assessment will of course be compared to all of the other students who took the test and they will become the normative sample. So by definition, 50% will be above average and 50% will be below."

"With this is mind, what are we (educators) going to do? It seems as though President Bush has been visiting Lake Wobegon! Please help me understand this issue."

We forwarded this question to Sue Heath, Wrightslaw researcher & editor. You can read Sue's answer in "No Child Left Behind: Measuring Annual Yearly Progress" at:


Sue Heath is the author of "A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind"


and "No Child Left Behind: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need to Know"


We will include more FAQs in future issues of The Special Ed Advocate!

4. New! No Child Left Behind Flyer

We designed a new two-page, printer-friendly NCLB Flyer with links to informational resources to answer many of your questions about No Child Left Behind.

Find out what No Child Left Behind means to you, your child, and your child’s school. Download, print and distribute the NCLB Flyer to parents, educators, administrators, school board members, state legislators, and the press.


How successful is your state in educating children? Children with disabilities? What percentage of 4th graders are proficient readers? What percentage of children are proficient in math and science?

Check your State Title 1 Profile at:


For more Wrightslaw flyers, please go to:


5. Send This Page To A Friend!

Pam C. wrote, "Like Pete and Pam, I believe it's my job to help my clients become savy advocates for their children. I would like to use a "Send to a Friend" feature to send Wrightslaw articles to my clients. I could send articles that address specific issues or as further explanation to steps I'd like families to take as we work together."

You asked, we responded.

When you visit Wrightslaw next, you will see that all articles now have a "Send This Page to a Friend" feature - when you click the mail button at the top of a page, a new window will open so you can send a link to others.

Thanks to your feedback, Webmaster Traci Wright is now revising the most popular articles on Wrightslaw to include printer-friendly versions of these articles.

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!

6. Conference Planning? Get 50% Off 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 a fifth box (20 books) free.

Learn about the Advocacy Challenge Discount Program:


Use Wrightslaw books to educate others and earn money!

7. Wrightslaw: Advocacy Training: Feb-April 2003

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.

Over the next six weeks, we are scheduled to do training programs in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Orlando (twice), and Bloomington, IL.

February 14-15: Baton Rouge, LA (Boot Camp)


February 17: New Orleans, LA


February 25: Orlando, FL


March 13-16: Annual COPAA Conference, Orlando, FL


March 21-22: Bloomington / Normal, IL


April 6, 2003: Iselin, NJ


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. Two-day Boot Camps are more intensive and individualized.

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


If you are interested in learning how to get Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars:


8. Subscribe & Contact Info.

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library: https://www.wrightslaw.com/law.htm

Advocacy Library: https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc.htm

Free Newsletter: https://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Newsletter Archives: https://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

Seminars & Training: https://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities: http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Contact Information

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletters@wrightslaw.com

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