The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
March 30, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

What is Your NCLB IQ?

Children with Disabilities Under NCLB: Myths, Realities

Retention! Special Ed Teacher Needs Ammo

IEPs and IEP Meetings

Flyers: High-Stakes Testing, Retention

Save $10 on Emotions to Advocacy

NCLB News: Testing, Highly Qualified Teacher Rules Relaxed

Wrightslaw Programs in AK & MD

Get 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 confusing world of special education.

Highlights: What is your NCLB IQ?; myths & realities about children with disabilities under NCLB; retention - special ed teacher needs ammo; 8 steps to better IEP meetings; $10 off on Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy; NCLB news about testing, teacher qualifications; Wrightslaw programs in 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. What is Your NCLB IQ?

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is generating confusion, controversy, misinformation, disinformation -- and strong opinions.

Do you know how NCLB will affect children with disabilities? Do you know how schools will test children with disabilities? Are there exceptions to rules about testing? Are requirements to include test scores of disabled students unfair to these students and their schools?

Test your knowledge - take our new NCLB Quiz. (You will get answers quickly by email).

2. Children with Disabilities Under NCLB: Myths & Realities

The National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) is a nationwide network of congressionally-mandated disability rights agencies that focus on the legal rights of individuals with disabilities.

On March 26, 2004, NAPAS published Children with Disabilities Under No Child Left Behind: Myths & Realities. The article lists several common myths and provides information (realities) about what NCLB and IDEA require for children with disabilities.

Children with Disabilities Under No Child Left Behind: Myths & Realities is available in html.
The article is also available in a printer-friendly pdf version. (5 pages)

How Will NCLB Affect You?

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) includes new legal requirements about parental involvement, highly-qualified teachers, scientifically based reading instruction, tutoring and supplemental educational services, research-based teaching methods, and school and school district report cards.

If you are a parent, teacher, administrator, child advocate, or attorney, the articles in How Will NCLB Affect You? will help you sort things out.

3. Retention! Special Ed Teacher Needs Help, Ammo by Sue Heath

A special ed teacher writes, "I am a third year teacher in California and am having a disagreement with my mentor about retention."

"I say research shows that retention is not successful, and that it is inappropriate to recommend retention for students with IEPs. (I believe it violates the spirit of IDEA, if not the letter of the law.) My mentor teacher says I feel this way because I am 'new.' After I have taught as long as he has, I will see things differently. I hope not! Can you suggest any resources or caselaw that is relevant to this issue?"

Sue Heath, research editor and co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, looks at at the definition of special education in IDEA:

"It would be difficult for a school to successfully argue at a hearing that they provided a program of 'specially designed instruction . . . to meet the unique needs of a child' while also saying that the child was not taught required information so they plan to retain him."

In Retention! Special Ed Teacher Needs Ammunition, Sue provides information that parents and teachers can use when faced with this damaging practice:

"Retention is not an educationally sound practice for any student, regardless of whether or not they have a disability. The National Association of School Psychologists speaks against the use of retention. The American Federation of Teachers opposes it. Many state departments of education oppose it. The links below provide plenty of support for your position."

Read Retention! Special Ed Teacher Needs Ammunition.

Read more Doing Your Homework columns by Sue Heath.

4. 8 Steps to Better IEP Meetings: Play Hearts, Not Poker

Jennifer Bollero, attorney and mother of child with autism, says that parents need to learn rules and strategies to reduce the risks when you negotiate for your child:

"Your child's IEP should never be a gamble. Know what your goals are and work them. Many roads lead to the same place. Many different cards can win the game."

8 Steps to Better IEP Meetings: Play Hearts, Not Poker

Also read
Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance for Parents

More about IEPs

5. Flyers: High-Stakes Testing and Retention & Social Promotion

As school districts and states come under increased pressure to improve educational outcomes, high-stakes testing and mandatory retention have emerged as hot issues.

Many school districts do not teach children grade-level material, so children do not learn the skills they need to pass these tests. When children fail, they pay a high price when they are retained or denied a high school diploma.

We should not penalize students when schools do not teach necessary knowledge and skills.

What do you need to know about high-stakes testing to advocate for your child? What do the decision-makers in your state need to know? Our High-Stakes Testing flyer has info that will help.

Please print and distribute our informational flyers about High-Stakes Testing and Retention & Social Promotion so others can learn about these issues. Download more flyers about advocacy, reading, supplemental services, help for college students, more.

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

"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

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

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

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (ISBN 1-892320-03-7)

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy (ISBN 1-892320-08-8) - $10 Off

Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 1-892320-12-6)

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

7. New Testing Policies; Flexibility; Rules for Teachers Relaxed (NCLB News, March, 2004)

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

Feds Issue New Policies for Participation in Testing. States can average participation rates over a three-year period; students who cannot take the test because of a medical emergency will not count against school’s participation rate. (March 30, 2004)

14 States Ask for Flexibility on Accountability & Adequate Yearly Progress. Claiming that most schools will be identified as "in need of improvement" within a few years, school officials from 14 states ask for changes in how Adequate Yearly Progress is measured. (March 26, 2004)

U. S. Dept of Ed Relaxes Rules for Highly Qualified Teachers. Teachers in rural communities and science teachers get more flexibility in meeting "highly qualified" requirements; new rules streamline how teachers can demonstrate subject-matter mastery in several subjects. (March 15, 2004)

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 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.

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

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, speech language therapists, tutors, special ed schools, advocates, attorneys, 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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