The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
April 23, 2003

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

When Parents & Schools Disagree

Graduation Rates Drop for Kids with Disabilities

Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind

Learning About No Child Left Behind

Hot Topic! Extended School Year

Advocacy Training: FL, VA

Subscription & Contact Info

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

Highlights: When parents & schools disagree - advice from an independent educational consultant; graduation & dropout rates for kids with disabilities; learn about No Child Left Behind; facts about extended school year (ESY); Pete & Pam Wrightslaw training programs in Florida and Virginia.

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1. When Parents and Schools Disagree by Ruth Heitin

Ruth Heitin, an independent educational consultant, describes common areas of disagreement between parents and schools and offers suggestions and strategies to handle these problems:

Does the student have an educationally-related disability? Does the child's disability have an impact on his/her educational performance?

Does the child require special education services? Are the special education services effective?

Dr. Heitin writes, "I often tell my clients that if my own parents were alive, they would never understand what I do for a living." Read When Parents & Schools Disagree:


If you enjoyed this article, you may want to find an educational consultant, advocate or attorney who represents children with disabilities. Read Help! How to Find an Educational Consultant, Advocate, Attorney at:


2. Graduation Rates for Kids with Disabilities Drop in NY

In 2002, the U. S. Department of Education reported that 57 percent of children with disabilities graduated from high school with a regular diploma and that the dropout for these students rate was 29 percent. (Source: 23rd Annual Report to Congress on Special Education, May 10, 2002).

We had questions about these figures.

When we added 57% and 29%, we came up with 86% - which led us to wonder what happened to the 14% of kids who did not graduate or dropout?

When Dee Alpert, editor of the Special Ed Muckraker, looked at the numbers in New York, she discovered some disturbing information. "In 2001-2002, the number of disabled students who graduated from high school in New York declined 9.3 percent from the previous year, from 14,448 to 13,469."

"The decline was not publicly announced by New York State Education Commissioner . . . who also neglected to make public disabled students' scores on State-mandated exams, although the No Child Left Behind Act and the State Department of Education regulations require the state to report these scores."

"Since Commissioner Mills also did not release disabled students' scores on any mandated tests, the fate, and progress - if any - of disabled students in New York state remains a mystery."

To learn more, read "9.3% Drop in Graduation Rates for Kids with Disabilities" by Dee Alpert.


3. Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind

Did you know:

* Only 32% of 4th graders are proficient readers who can read at the 4th grade level
* Only 17% of 12th graders are proficient in math
* Only 18% of 12th graders are proficient in science
* U.S. 8th graders students rank 28th internationally in math
* U.S. 8th graders rank below Bulgaria in science

Sources: U. S. Department of Education, http://www.nclb.gov/next/stats/index.html;
International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement,
International Math and Science Proficiency Scores – 8th grade Math and Science,

NCLB emphasizes accountability and teaching methods that work.

In A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind, Sue Heath teaches you about new requirements for teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, annual testing in math and reading. You will also learn about new options for parents including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school.

To learn about No Child Left Behind - how it applies to you, your child, and your school - download A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind at:


Print & Distribute

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind is also available as a 4 page, printer-friendly pdf document.


We encourage you to print and distribute this article so parents, teachers and child advocates can learn about this important law. By working together, we are making a difference!

4. Learning About No Child Left Behind

The No Child Left Behind Act will have a big impact on your child's education. You need to learn about this new law, so we collected resources to help you get started.

"Too many children are segregated in schools without standards, shuffled from grade to grade . . . This is discrimination, pure and simple."
- President George W. Bush

Visit our No Child Left Behind Page:


Read these articles:

No Child Left Behind: Overview of Public Law 107-110. No Child Left Behind promises to raise standards for all children and to help all children meet these standards. This article focuses on deadlines, legal clarifications, and offers legal and advocacy resources.

NCLB: Schools Must Measure Progress & Report Results to Parents. Schools must measure each child's progress every year and must report the results to the child's parents and to the public. Yes, this requirement applies to children in special education.


No Child Left Behind: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need to Know. In addition to new options for parents, including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school, NCLB includes new requirements about educating teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, and annual testing of math and reading skills. What


NCLB: What
Educators Need to Know is also available in a 4 printer-friendly version for distribution.

No Child Left Behind Website:

Get Fact Sheets about Reading Achievement, Reading First, 21st Century Technology, State Standards, Getting Students Help, Measuring Progress, Good Teachers, School Safety, and other topics from U. S. Department of Education:


Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

We will keep you posted about this exciting new law - and about our new book, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (available this summer)


5. Hot Topic! Facts About Extended School Year (ESY)

Hot battles continue to arise about extended school year services for kids with disabilities. If you have questions about a legal issue (like Extended School Year services), you need to do your own legal research

We advise parents not to accept legal advice from school personnel. You need to know what the law and regulations say!

You will find that extended school year (ESY) is not mentioned in the IDEA statute, but is in the IDEA regulations. Read the IDEA regulation about ESY at 34 CFR § Section 300.309 (page 165, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law).

Facts About Extended School Year will help you learn about these issues. This page includes information about two ESY cases, Daniel Lawyer v. Chesterfield and Reusch v. Fountain.

Learn about windows of opportunity, regression and recoupment, and other important issues in Facts About Extended School Year:


6. Wrightslaw: Advocacy Training: May 2003

"Before Boot Camp, special ed was occupying every worry cell in my brain. Now that I have a road map, I worry less and accomplish more." - Carolyn from Oklahoma

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.

"I have never learned so much useful information at a workshop - thank you for having a heart for kids and the head for the Law." - Susan from Texas

In May, we will do Boot Camps in Springfield, Massachusetts and Jacksonville, Florida.

May 2 & 3, 2003 - Springfield, MA (Boot Camp) - SOLD OUT

May 16-17 2003 - Jacksonville, FL (Boot Camp)

and a one-day advocacy training program in Roanoke, Virginia.

May 21, 2003 - Roanoke, VA

Wrightslaw training programs focus on four areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and how to use tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

"I attended your Boot Camp with two coworkers. We learned SO MUCH in those two days! Your books could not be more helpful to anyone who works with special education students." - Christie from Kansas

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


We are now booking programs for 2004. To learn how you can bring Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.


7. Subscription & 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

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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 - http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Contact Info

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

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