The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
March 23, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

Are Children with Disabilities Required to Take High-Stakes Tests?

New High-Stakes Suit Filed in Alaska

Exit Exams Can Be Optional - If You Plan Ahead

Save $10 on Emotions to Advocacy

Subscribe to The Beacon: Journal of Special Ed Law & Practice

Wednesday, March 24 is Call Your Senators Day

Effective Teachers, Teacher Ed, Achievement Gap Narrows

Wrightslaw Programs in 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: Are children with disabilities required to take high-stakes tests; new high-stakes suit filed in Alaska; exit exams can be optional if you plan ahead; $10 off on Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy; next issue of The Beacon focuses on high-stakes tests, accommodations, modifications; Call Your Senators Day is March 24; NCLB news about effective teachers, teacher education, closing the achievement gap; Wrightslaw programs in NH, AK, MD; more 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. Are Children with Disabilities Required to Take State-Mandated Tests?

A parent asks, "I know schools are required to give state-mandated tests. But are children required to take these tests? My child is significantly learning disabled. I don't see the point of putting him through the frustration of taking state mandated tests in 4th and 8th grade."

From Wrightslaw: "We understand that some parents do not want their children to be tested. Like you, they want to protect their children from pain and frustration. Before we answer your question, we'd like to talk about about the issues . . . " Read Are Disabled Children Required to Take State Tests?

Success Story

"My son Dylan has Down Syndrome. I wanted him to be re-evaluated every few years. The IEP team tried to talk me out of having him take any standardized tests. This year, he took the high-stakes tests . . ." Read How My Son with Down Syndrome Passed High Stakes Tests.

More Special Education Qs & As

More Success Stories

2. New High-Stakes Suit Filed in Alaska

As states implement high stakes tests, some have developed blanket policies that prohibit or severely limit accommodations and modifications -- despite federal law and regulations that prohibit this policy.

On March 16, 2004, children with disabilities and their parents filed a class-action lawsuit against the Alaska Board of Education, challenging Alaska's controversial High School exit exam.

More than 500 students with disabilities have met all other graduation requirements but will not get a diploma because they cannot pass the exit exam.

According to the complaint, the Alaska Board of Education has created widespread confusion by repeatedly changing its regulations for disabled students and what testing modifications they can receive.

Learn more about the Alaska Suit

High-stakes lawsuit have been filed in other states, including California and Massachusetts. High-Stakes Lawsuit in Massachusetts: How High Are the Stakes? Class Action Suit Filed Against California Dept of Ed Over High-Stakes Testing

Learn more about High-Stakes Tests.

3. Exit Exams Can Be Optional if You Plan Ahead by Sue Heath

This spring, thousands of high school students will not graduate with a high school diploma. How can this be?

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

What can you do about this? Read Exit Exams Can Be Optional if You Plan Ahead by Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.

Read more Doing Your Homework columns by Sue Heath.

4. Save $10 on Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - "An Invaluable Advocacy Tool"

"Expect this book to be tabbed and dog-eared - it is an invaluable advocacy tool." - The Tourette Gazette

"If I were asked to choose just one book to help me learn advocacy skills, this is it!" - Support for Families of Children with Disabilities Newsletter

Learn more about Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy  l Table of Contents l SMART IEPs l

Internet Orders l Mail, Fax, Phone Orders l Discounts l

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

Discounts & Exam Copies

50% Discount on Bulk Purchases of Wrightslaw Books
-The Advocacy Challenge Discount is a 50% discount on bulk purchases of Wrightslaw books.

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

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

The Beacon is a multi-disciplinary electronic journal of special education law and practice published by Harbor House Law Press.

The next issue of The Beacon is devoted to high-stakes testing. The lead article is "High-Stakes Testing: Educational Barometer for Success or False Prognosticator for Failure?" by parent attorney Torin Togut, Esq. To subscribe to The Beacon, go to the Harbor House site and enter your email address in the "Subscribe Box" on the left side of the page.

To read earlier issues, please visit the Beacon Archives. The last issue included The Next Wave of Special Education Litigation, a short article about high-stakes testing by Pete Wright.

"Special education law and litigation is on the verge of a major shift in direction. In ten years, I believe the educational landscape will change for all children . . . " Read article

6. Reminder: Wednesday, March 24 is Call Your Senators Day

The Senate is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 1248 soon. S. 1248 includes provisions that will hurt children and youth with disabilities and their families. What can you do?

You can call your Senators on Wednesday, March 24. Say you want them to "Vote No on S.1248 - it's a bad bill that will hurt our kids!"
Learn how you can join us for Call Your Senator Day.

Protect IDEA, Protect Our Kids

7. Effective Teachers, Teacher Ed, Closing the Achievement Gap (NCLB News, March 2004)

No Child Left Behind News & Commentary has announcements, news, events, commentary, and Op-Ed articles about No Child Left Behind. Here are three recent news items:

National Board Certified Teachers More Effective in Raising Student Achievement.

Congress Orders Study of Teacher Ed Programs.

New Study Shows No Child Left Behind Is Helping Urban Students Achieve.

More NCLB News & Commentary.

Learn about No Child Left Behind.

Learn about Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind with NCLB CD-ROM.

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

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training 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.

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

Wrightslaw programs are usually "sold out" so if you plan to attend, don't procrastinate - register today!

If 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.)

9. 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.

Strategies to Find a Support or Study Group

What to Expect from an Evaluation of Your Child

Working with Independent Evaluators and Educational Consultants

Questions for a Lay Advocate

Questions for an Attorney

10. 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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