The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
February 25, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

Blame Game: Are School Problems the Kids' Fault?

Child Needs Help, School Will Not Evaluate

Accommodations & Modifications on High-Stakes Tests

Next Wave of Special Ed Litigation

IDEA News: Parents Urge Senate to Vote "No"

The Beacon: Journal of Special Ed Law & Practice

Wrightslaw Programs in MI, NH, AK, MD

Help from Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

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 perplexing world of special education.

Highlights: The blame game - learning about school culture; school won't evaluate child with 504 Plan, says child must fail; accommodations and modifications on high-stakes tests; next wave of special education litigation; high-stakes testing flyer; subscribe to The Beacon; Wrightslaw programs in MI, NH, AK, MD; get help from Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.

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. The Blame Game: Are Learning & Behavior Problems the Kids' Fault?

Parents of special ed kids often say that they are intimidated and patronized by staff at their children’s school. Are parents too sensitive? Do they misperceive and misunderstand what happens in their contacts with educators? Or are parents just over-protective of their children, as many educators claim?

If school staff believe that you or your child are responsible for your child’s problems, how can you work with them to ensure that your child gets a good quality education?

The Blame Game! describes five reasons why kids have learning and behavior problems, what school personnel don't tell parents, and what you can do about it. Learn about school culture, beliefs, evaluations and consultants, and how to negotiate.

Read The Blame Game! Are Learning and Behavior Problems the Kid's Fault?

Read more articles

[This article should be required reading for school psychologists and professors who are teaching school psychology courses.]

2. Section 504: Child Needs Help, School Won't Evaluate

"My daughter has a 504 plan. Her grades have dropped from A's and B's to C's and D's. I recently met with school personnel and asked that she receive more help."

"The principal said she has to receive a failing grade before the school can test her. I know she must have a discrepancy between ability and achievement to be eligible for special education, but the school won't evaluate her to find out if she has a discrepancy between ability and achievement."

What do you think? Do you have ideas about how this parent should proceed?

Read Section 504 Child Failing, School Won't Evaluate about IDEA and Section 504, 504 Plans as consolation prizes, and get the Wrightslaw Game Plan for resolving eligibility disputes.

Learn more about Section 504.

Read more articles about IDEA and Section 504.

3. Accommodations & Modifications on High-Stakes Tests

As school districts and states come under increased pressure to improve educational results, high-stakes testing has emerged as a hot issue.

Many parents, teachers and administrators are confused about accommodations and modifications on high-stakes tests. Some believe that children with disabilities cannot receive accommodations and modifications on high-stakes tests. Others believe that the child's IEP team makes this decision.

The U. S. Department of Education published a "family friendly" version of their Memorandum about IDEA Students and Assessments. This article includes 26 questions and answers about the role of the child's IEP team, parental permission, accommodations and modifications, alternate assessments, out-of-level testing, accountability, and more.

Download, print and read Qs & As about IDEA, Students with Disabilities and State and District Assessments.

Learn more about high-stakes tests.

You can educate others about high-stakes testing issues by downloading and distributing the high-stakes flyer. (2 pages, pdf)

More Flyers

Learn more about accommodations & modifications

4. The Next Wave of Special Education Litigation by Pete Wright, Esq.

According to Pete Wright, "Special education law and litigation is on the verge of a major shift in direction."

"As more states require students to pass high-stakes tests before they receive high school diplomas, we are seeing a new kind of case. We are being asked to represent children who cannot pass high-stakes tests because their schools did not teach them the information and skills they need to pass these tests."

"Schools that retain or refuse to graduate children often claim that No Child Left Behind requires them to take these actions. This is not true . . . "

Not true? Read The Next Wave of Special Education Litigation

Read more articles from the Fall 2003 issue of The Beacon

Beacon Archives

5. IDEA Reauthorization: Parents Urge Senate to Vote "No" on Senate Bill 1248

The IDEA Reauthorization battle is heating up, with a vote on Senate Bill 1248 planned next month.

Sandy Alperstein, a parent and attorney from Illinois, explains, "H.R. 1350 turns the clock back 30 years, to a time when children with disabilities were excluded from our public schools and our public lives."

"This bill eliminates critical provisions of the current law, provisions that enable children with disabilities not only to enter our schoolhouse doors, but also to actually stay in school. What's the point of letting kids in, only to virtually guarantee that they'll be thrown back out again? Students will suffer these consequences if the Senate passes its bill too." (Our Children Left Behind)

Learn about more objections to Senate Bill 1248 in Parents Urge Senate to Vote "No" on Senate Bill 1248."

More IDEA Reauthorization News

6. The Beacon: The Journal of Special Education Law & Practice

The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice is an electronic journal published by Harbor House Law Press. The Beacon includes articles and essays for attorneys, advocates and others who are interested in special education law and practice.

The last issue of The Beacon was about changing educational standards, reading and reading research, and the No Child Left Behind Act.

The next issue of The Beacon will focus on high-stakes testing.

Subscribe to The Beacon - Enter your email address in the "Subscribe Box" on any page of the Harbor House site.

7. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Programs in Michigan, New Hampshire, Alaska & Maryland

Please join us for a Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy program. These programs fill up fast - if you plan to attend, don't procrastinate - register today!

Troy, Michigan - February 28, 2004

Manchester, New Hampshire (Boot Camp) - March 26-27, 2004

Juneau, Alaska
(Boot Camp) - April 8-9, 2004

Anchorage, Alaska
 (Boot Camp)- April 13-14, 2004

Annapolis, Maryland
(Boot Camp) - April 30-May 1, 2004

you are interested in bringing Pete and Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars. (We are scheduling programs for 2005-2006.)

8. Need Help? Visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

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

If you are looking for help - or a helper - visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.
Your state Yellow Pages has many resources - evaluators, therapists, tutors, special Ed schools, advocates, organizations, and support groups.

Working with Independent Evaluators and Educational Consultants

What to Expect from an Evaluation of Your Child

Before You Hire a Lay Advocate

Before You Hire an Attorney

Are you looking for a research-based reading program? Review the list of providers who use structured, multisensory, alphabetic techniques. Check the database of service providers from the International Dyslexia Association.

Learn more about Research-Based Instruction

Visit the
Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

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 Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA Reauthorization 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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