The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
February 22, 2003

Issue - 198

ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

How To Use Tests & Measurements To Measure Progress - And FAPE

We Can Train Shamu But We Can't Teach A Child To Read?

What You Should Know About Evaluations by Bob Crabtree, Esq


The Lighter Side Of Special Ed By Amiee Gilman, Esq

News! Vouchers, Funding Increases For Special Ed & Teacher Training

IDEA Reauthorization: Progress Report

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In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we focus on how to use tests to measure educational progress and FAPE; get advice about effective educational programs; learn what parents should know about evaluations; recommend a great electronic newsletter; learn about proposed funding increases for vouchers, special ed, and teacher training; and bring you “The Lighter Side of Special Education.”

Download online version of this newsletter: https://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.0222.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!


Quote of the Week: “We can train Shamu, but we can't train a kid to be compliant or to read? Give me a break!" (To learn who said this, scroll down.)

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

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1. How To Use Tests & Measurements To Measure Progress - And FAPE

Assume a child began receiving special education services three years ago. Is the child making progress? Is the child catching up with the peer group? Is the child falling further behind? Is the child receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE)?

How do you know?

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

Parents, teachers, and advocates must learn how to measure educational progress. If you do not know how to use information from tests to track your child's progress, you will not be able to play an active role in planning your child's special education program.

What can you do? Read “Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney” - three times. Use a highlighter. Make margin notes.


Tip: Print the article from the screen to ensure that you have all the graphics.

Next, dig out evaluations and tests on your child. Compare tests that have been administered more than once.

What's the verdict? Is the child learning and making acceptable progress?

NOTE: Because this information is so important, we included two chapters about Tests & Measurements in our book, From Emotions To Advocacy. The book also includes several “Homework Assignments” that will help you master this information.


2. We Can Train Shamu But We Can't Teach A Child To Read?

Dr. Bill Matthew, director of special education in Delano, California, offers a memorable description of educational decision-making and effective educational programs:

“We can train Shamu but we can't train a kid to be compliant or to read? Give me a break!"

"Educational decision-making should be empirically driven - not driven by intuition (or tarot card reading), which is part and parcel of much psychology, especially assessment."

Dr. Matthew offers advice about tests & testing:

* Age & grade equivalents
* Subtest scatter
* Inappropriate use of projective tests
* Use of psychometrically sound tests

Dr. Matthew expresses concerns about education, treatment and advocacy for kids with emotional disorders. Read “We Can Train Shamu! Effective Educational Programs, Testing, and Advocacy” by Bill Matthew:


3. 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 . . . "

Read “What You Should Know About Evaluations” by parent attorney Bob Crabtree:


For more info and articles about Tests, Assessments & Evaluations, go to:


4. EducationNews.org!

Are you interested in education and special education? We encourage you to subscribe to EducationNews at


In today's issue of EducationNews, you learn that more than half of L.A. Unified elementaries raised their state rankings since last year. You get info about the Massachusetts high stakes testing case. You learn that the Louisiana state school board came out against vouchers.

You learn that four New England states are working together to develop a series of grade-level standards and tests to meet the requirements of the new federal education law, and that California education officials announced the targets for schools' 2003 test scores.

You learn about a new six-hour crash course from the NEA -- "I Can Do It" -- geared to teaching novices. Experienced teachers share the secrets of surviving and thriving in the classroom during the first five years.

EducationNews.org is a remarkable resource!

EducationNews.org provides links to education news around the world. Nationally recognized experts provide commentaries on various aspects of education. EducationNews.org staff writers cover the latest education issues and bring you a thorough, complete analysis of events, policies, and situations which affect education today.

Daily News: http://www.educationnews.org/daily_educationnews.htm

Subscribe: mailto:educationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Please help others learn about special education law and advocacy. Download and distribute our Free Newsletters Flyer (2 pages, pdf):


5. The Lighter Side Of Special Ed By Amiee Gilman, Esq.

Before you read these articles by Aimee Gilman, be warned. As Aimee says, "If you are among those humor- challenged individuals who believe THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT DISABILITIES, then I urge you to stop now and go back to biting your nails down to your elbows. I understand how you feel."

Aimee is an attorney who represents kids with disabilities and the parent of a child with a disability. She is also very funny.

Read "The Lighter Side of Special Education:

About Parents & Kids - http://www.fetaweb.com/humor/gilman.parents.kids.htm

About the IEP - http://www.fetaweb.com/humor/gilman.iep.htm

6. News! Vouchers, Funding Increases For Special Ed & Teacher Training

According to the Associated Press, Republican leaders have proposed legislation to expand school vouchers and provide extra help for children with disabilities. The bill also includes a plan for the federal government "to fulfill a promise it set in 1975 - paying 40 percent of the average cost of educating children with disabilities."

The education bill would also increase federal loan forgiveness from $5,000 to $17,500 for teachers of math, science and special education in low-income schools.

Read full text of article: https://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2003/idea.funding.ap.htm

For new cases, and updates on IDEA and No Child Left Behind, go to:


7. IDEA Reauthorization: Progress Report

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you represent your child's interests. You need to stay informed about changes to the law that may affect your child. If you are a teacher or special education service provider, the reauthorized law is likely to affect you and your job.

For news, progress reports, and other information about legal developments, reauthorization and IDEA, please visit our IDEA Reauthorization Page:


To learn more about these issues, including reports, surveys and recommendations about how the IDEA statute may be changed, please visit our IDEA Resources page:


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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