The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
January 27, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

Message from the Editor

States Sit on 5.7 Billion in Federal Education Funds!

Advice for Hiring a Lay Advocate or Attorney

Working with Educ. Consultants & Evaluators

Yellow Pages for Kids, Strategies for Getting Help

Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates Conference in S.F.

Wrightslaw Training in MO, IL, IN, MI (Feb. 2004)

50% Discount on Wrightslaw Books

Subscription and Contact Info

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

Highlights: States sit on 5.7 billion in federal funds; hiring a lay advocate or attorney; working with an educational consultant or evaluator; strategies for getting help - Yellow Pages for Kids & database of service providers; Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) conference in San Francisco; Wrightslaw goes to Midwest, provides special ed legal and advocacy training; 50% discount on Wrightslaw books; exam copies.

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (2003 Alexa rankings)

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. We appreciate your help! Download newsletter

1. Message from the Editor

By January, many parents are feeling anxious about their children with disabilities. In some cases, children are not receiving appropriate special Ed services and are not making progress. As school enforce "zero tolerance" policies, more children are being disciplined for reasons related to their disabilities.

In other cases, school personnel are dragging their feet, adopting a "wait and see" attitude before they provide any help at all. More parents are writing to Wrightslaw, asking for advice and help.

In this issue, we provide strategies you can use to get help. We offer advice about educational consultants, evaluators and evaluations. We suggest questions you should ask before you retain an advocate or evaluator. Finally, please check your state Yellow Pages for help.

2. States Sit on 5.7 Billion in Federal Education Funds

Two weeks ago, Sue Heath (research editor and co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind) learned that states returned millions in unspent federal funds to the U.S. Treasury, and did not spend these funds on education. (Read States Send Millions Back to Feds)

A few days ago, Sue learned that states are sitting on 5.7 billion in federal education funds from 2000-2002, including 1.7 billion for special education. Every state has millions of unspent federal education dollars.

Sue wanted to know which states had the greatest surplus of unspent federal funds. She found that:

* New York ranks #1 with $689 million in unspent federal funds (12% of their allotment for 2000-2002)
* California ranks #2 with $671 million in unspent funds (7.5 percent of their allotment)
* Texas is in 3rd place with $412 million (7 percent of their allotment)
* Ohio is sitting on $409 million (16 percent of their 2000-2002 allotment).

Are you curious? How does your state rank?

Read States Sit on 5.7 Billion in Federal Education Funds (the article includes a Table of Unspent Federal Funds by State)

3. Before You Hire a Lay Advocate or an Attorney by Jennifer Bollero, Esq.

According to parent attorney Jennifer Bollero, the decision to hire an advocate is unique to each case. If the parents decide they could do a more effective job of negotiating for their child with help from a third party, it helps to have guidelines to evaluate the persons they are interviewing for the job. And you should trust your instincts!

In Before You Hire a Lay Advocate, Ms. Bollero explains that a lay advocate should be:

* properly trained in special education law
* experienced in special education matters
* professional in demeanor
* supported at the office
* sensitive to the needs of the child and the client's need to make the final decision.

In Before You Hire an Attorney, Ms. Bollero advises that the attorney should be:

* licensed in your state
* familiar with federal and state special Ed laws and procedures
* experienced and available
* supported at the office
* sensitive to the needs of the child and the client's need to make the final decisions.

Ms. Bollero is writing Eight Steps to Negotiating for Children with Disabilities, an advocacy book that will be published by Harbor House Law Press. She has written several articles about special education advocacy, including Play Hearts, Not Poker (Fall 2001 issue of The Beacon) and Using an Expert as an Effective Resource (Winter 2002 issue of The Beacon)

4. Working with Independent Evaluators and Educational Consultants

If you need help in developing goals and objectives for your child, consult with a psychologist, educational diagnostician, or consultant. A consultant will give you valuable information and help.

Working with Independent Evaluators and Educational Consultants is a short article about:

* Types of Consultants / Evaluators
* Strategies and Tips on Finding a Consultant

Learn about effective Parent Advocacy.

5. Help from the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

If you are looking for help or a helper, visit the Yellow Pages for Kids. When you visit your state Yellow Pages, you will find many resources - evaluators, therapists, tutors, special Ed schools, and parent support groups. You will also find information about government programs, grassroots organizations, and support groups. Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Are you looking for a tutor or academic therapist? A psychologist or educational diagnostician? A speech language therapist? An advocate or attorney?

Check the database of service providers from the International Dyslexia Association.

Are you looking for a research-based reading program? Check the list of providers who use structured, multisensory, alphabetic techniques.

Information about Research-Based Instruction

6. Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates (COPAA) Conference in San Francisco, March 11-14, 2004

The Sixth Annual Conference of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), a national organization of parents of special education students and their advocates and lawyers, will be held on March 11-14, 2004 in San Francisco.

This information-packed event features workshops and trainings for parents, parent advocates and parent attorneys on dozens of topics.

Check out the Pre-Conference Skills Trainings (Thursday and Friday, March 11-12, 2004)

* Survival Guide for New IDEA Attorneys

* Federal Litigation Attorney Skills Training

* Parent and Advocate Skills Training

Conference Information

Conference Program & Registration Form

Online Registration

7. Midwest March: Pete & Pam Coming to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana & Michigan in February!

Join Pete and Pam Wright for a Special Education Law & Advocacy Training program in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Jefferson City, MO -February 17, 2004
Skokie IL - February 21, 2004
Indianapolis, IN
 - February 24, 2004
Troy, MI - February 28, 2004

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

Our 2004 schedule also includes programs in:

Manchester, NH (Boot Camp) - March 26-27
Juneau, AK (Boot Camp) - April 8-9
Anchorage, AK (Boot Camp) - April 13-14
Annapolis, MD (Boot Camp) - April 30-May 1

Wrightslaw comes to the West Coast! Join us in Sacramento on July 17-18 for a two-day special education law and advocacy Boot Camp.

For information about these and other programs that will be held over the next few months, please check our Seminars & Training page.
We are scheduling programs for Fall 2004 and 2005. If you are interested in bringing Pete and Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.

8. Discounts & Exam Copies

50% Discount on Bulk Purchases of Wrightslaw Books
-The Advocacy Challenge Discount is a 50-60% discount on bulk purchases of Wrightslaw books for groups and individuals who purchase boxes of books. If you are a special Ed organization, parent group, teach an advocacy class, or engage in a similar venture, check out the Advocacy Challenge Discount.

Exam Copies - Teachers in colleges and universities around the country use Wrightslaw books in education, special education and special education law courses. Learn more

Wrightslaw books are reasonably priced ($29.95) - easy on tight student budgets.

Wrightslaw Books:

9. 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 Seminars & Training
Advocacy Library Yellow Pages for Kids
Free Newsletter Newsletter Archives

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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