The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
May 29, 2003

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue . . .

IDEA Reauthorization - What Next?

IDEA News, Issues, Alerts

Exit Exams Can Be Optional - If You Plan Ahead

Supreme Ct Upholds Employment Law Protections for Parents

Great Deals, Free Shipping in Spring Into Summer Sale

How to Disagree with the IEP Team Without Starting WW III

How to Put on a Special Ed Case by Sonja Kerr

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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. This issue is IDEA reauthorization and advocacy.

Highlights: IDEA Reauthorization - status report & homework assignment; how to avoid the high school exit exam; great deals & free shipping in our Spring into Summer Sale; Supreme Court upholds employment law protections for parents of disabled and sick children; how to disagree with the IEP team without starting WW III; how to put on a special ed case by Sonja Kerr.

Subscribers on May 29, 2003: 43,072

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

1. IDEA Reauthorization - What Next?

We continue to receive questions from readers about H.B. 1350 to reauthorize the IDEA. On April 30, 2003, the House of Representatives voted 251-171 to approve H. R. 1350, the Republican bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

What next?

Within the next couple of weeks, the Senate will introduce a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the IDEA. After hearings and amendments, the Senate will vote on this bill. If the Senate passes their IDEA, they will meet with members of the House of Representatives and attempt to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the IDEA.

Your Homework Assignment

You need to educate your Senators about special education issues now, before battle lines are drawn.

First, read H.R. 1350 Will Not Accomplish the Goals of Its Proponents. This article will clarify the issues and help you fine-tune your message.


H.R. 1350 Will Not Accomplish the Goals of Its Proponents is a short article by disability rights advocates. The article focuses on whether or not the House version of IDEA (HR 1350) meets the goals its proponents intended. These goals include:

1. Strengthening accountability and results for students with disabilities.
2. Restoring trust between parents and schools.
3. Reducing the paperwork burden.
4. Reducing litigation.
5. Increased flexibility for school districts to improve early intervention services.

We converted this article into a pdf file for easier printing and distribution. As you read it, think about how these issues will affect your child or children you know.

Also read Changes to IDEA Discipline Provisions in HR 1350 Will Lead to Unfair and Inappropriate Treatment of Students with Disabilities from the Children's Defense Fund. This 3-page article includes a good list of references.


Use the information in these two articles as 'talking points' when you communicate with the staff in your Senators' offices. To brush up on your advocacy skills, please reread our April IDEA Alert. https://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/al.0421.htm

2. IDEA Reauthorization News, Issues & Alerts

Stay current about changes and proposed changes to IDEA. Visit IDEA Reauthorization Issues & News: https://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm

IDEA Reports & Recommendations has reports and surveys about the strengths and weaknesses of the IDEA and how the law should be changed: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/idea2002.resources.htm

Alerts & Newsletters

IDEA Rapid Response Network. The Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) launched the IDEA Rapid Response Network. To receive information about reauthorization and/or participate in the Network, send an email to preserveIDEA@dredf.org Include your name, contact information (postal address, telephone number, and email). More information about the IDEA Rapid Response Network is available on the DREDF site.

Action Alert. Get news about federal legislation that may affect your child; learn what you can do to get involved. To subscribe, go to http://www.capwiz.com/ld/home/ and click ACTION E-LIST

3. Exit Exams Can Be Optional - If You Plan Ahead

This spring, thousands of high school students will not graduate with a high school diploma. These students took the required courses and received passing grades.

Why? How is this possible?

These students will not graduate from high school because they did not pass their state's exit exam. These students spent at least twelve years in school. Obviously, they learned something - they have the credits and the grades to prove it.

Do students need to pass their state exit exams before they can graduate with a high school diploma? What do you think?

Research editor Sue Heath describes a winning strategy to eliminate the state exit exam as an obstacle so otherwise qualified kids can graduate with real high school diplomas.

Read Exit Exams Can Be Optional - If You Plan Ahead at:

Read about advocacy: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.index.htm

4 . Supreme Court Upholds Employment Law Protections for Parents of Disabled & Ill Children

On Tuesday, May 27, the Supreme Court rules that state workers can sue their employers for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the federal law that grants time off to deal with family emergencies.

According to attorney Loring Spolter, parents of children with disabilities and serious medical conditions are at high risk for employment discrimination.

"The law permits mothers and fathers to take unpaid leaves of absences from work - with the promise of having jobs to come back to. With FMLA, parents can take time off from work when their children are hospitalized or are confronted with 'serious health conditions' requiring routine appointments with medical doctors, mental health counselors, physical therapists, speech therapists and other professionals."

Attorney Spolter describes qualifying conditions, leave, protections, advanced notice, wages and benefits, awards and damages under FMLA. He also provides a useful FMLA Leave Checklist and advice about finding an attorney in your area.

Read Employment Law Protections for Parents of Disabled & Ill Children at -


5. Great Deals & Free Shipping in Our Spring Into Summer Sale - May 28 - June 20, 2003

We are cutting inventory as we prepare to launch our new book, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind this summer.

Learn about the good deals, great deals and super deals in our Spring Into Summer Sale: https://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/al.0528.htm

Save $5.00, $10.00 - up to $24.95 on Wrightslaw books - and get free shipping.

Internet Orders: https://www.wrightslaw.com/store/index.html

Mail, Fax & Phone Orders: https://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/orderform.htm

6. How to Disagree with the IEP Team Without Starting WW III

Pete answers questions about IEPs and teaches you how to disagree with the IEP team without starting World War III. Learn about the Rules of Adverse Assumptions, how to use tape recording and thank you letters to clarify issues, and how to deal with an IEP team bully.

Read How to Disagree with the IEP Team at:


Read more articles: https://www.wrightslaw.com/articles.htm

7. How to Put on a Special Education Case by Sonja Kerr, Esq.

Parent attorney Sonja Kerr has good advice for the attorney who is preparing for a due process hearing. Learn why you should not fly solo. Remember whose job it is to educate. This article includes tips about building the "perfect case."

Read How to Put on a Special Education Case at:


Read special education caselaw: https://www.wrightslaw.com/caselaw.htm

8. 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.

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Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 10s08
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com

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