The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
June 30, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue

Announcing Winner of the "Name That Video Contest"

IDEA Reauthorization Update (June 2004)

How Are Bills to Reauthorize IDEA Different?

How is Your School Doing Under NCLB?

Special Ed Muckraker Needs Your Help

Bridges4Kids News Digest - 5 Stars!

Wrightslaw Programs in Sacramento & Grand Rapids (July, 2004)

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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: Winner of the "Name That Video Contest"; IDEA Reauthorization Update; side-by-side analysis of bills to reauthorize IDEA; find out how your school is doing under NCLB; Special Ed Muckraker needs your help; Bridges4Kids News Digest; Wrightslaw programs in Sacramento & Grand Rapids.

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and coworkers so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help!

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

1. Announcing - Winner of the "Name That Video Contest"

On June 22, we asked you to vote for your favorite title for our new video, Stephen Jeffers v. School Board, in the Name That Video Contest.

When Parents and the School Board Disagree: Surviving Due Process
from Jeff Smith received nearly 20% of your votes.

2nd Place: "Due Process: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You!" (12%)

3rd Place: "Inside Due Process: A Step-by-Step Look at Jeffers v. School Board" (10%)

Jeff Smith is an occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist from Phoenix, Arizona. Jeff works for the Southwest Human Development's Assistive Technology Program. Southwest is a non profit agency that provides services to children and families primarily in the metro Phoenix area.

The Assistive Technology Program provides training, workshops and AT devices to Arizona school districts. As an occupational therapist and AT specialist, Jeff works with speech therapists, special educators, a rehab engineer, and OT Assistant in a multidisciplinary approach to meeting the assistive technology needs of children and adults.

As the winner of the Name That Video Contest, Jeff will receive a Sony Clie Color Handheld PDA, a copy of When Parents and the School Board Disagree: Surviving Due Process - Stephen Jeffers v. School Board, and autographed copies of our three books from Harbor House Law Press.

Note: When Parents and the School Board Disagree: Surviving Due Process - Stephen Jeffers v. School Board will be available later this summer. Newsletter subscribers will receive advance notice when the DVD becomes available. We appreciate your interest in this new project.

2. IDEA Reauthorization Update: June 2004

In May 2004, the Senate passed a bill to reauthorize IDEA by a 95-3 vote. Senate Bill 1248 is significantly different from H.R. 1350 passed by the House of Representatives last year. These differences must be resolved by a joint House-Senate conference committee.

Currently, things do not look like they will lead to a conference soon. Senator Kennedy is pushing "pre-conference decisions" before he appoints conferees. While Senator Gregg does not see the need for this step because the Senate worked in a bipartisan manner, his staff and Senator Kennedy's staff will try to reach an agreement on this issue.

Pre-conference work and agreement may help to resolve the most contentious issues and could pave the way to a swifter overall House-Senate conference.

But Congress is scheduled to leave Washington from July 23rd until after Labor Day and will adjourn in the first week in October. (This is an election year) If anything happens with IDEA reauthorization, it will need to happen soon.

Our thanks to Diane Smith, an attorney with National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) for this news update. NAPAS is a nationwide network of congressionally-mandated disability rights agencies that focus on the legal rights of individuals with disabilities.

Go to IDEA Reauthorization News for news, progress reports, and other important information about the IDEA Reauthorization.

3. How Are Bills to Reauthorize IDEA Different? How Do They Differ from the Current Law?

You know that the House and Senate bills to reauthorize IDEA are different. Many readers have asked how the bills are different from each other and how they are different from the current law (IDEA-97).

We could not answer these questions - until now.

On June 24, the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) published a side-by-side analysis of Senate Bill 1248, House Bill 1350 and IDEA 97.

You can download "Side by Side Comparison of Senate Bill 1248 (passed on May 13, 2004) and House Bill 1350 (passed on April 30, 2003) with Parts A and B of the IDEA (Current Law) in pdf from


or from the NAPAS website (see right side of screen)

To learn more about reauthorization issues, including reports, surveys and recommendations about how the law may be changed, please visit the IDEA Resources page.

4. NCLB News: How Is Your School Doing Under NCLB?

Do you know how your school is doing under No Child Left Behind? Is the school making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)? How about your school district?

Achievement data from all public schools and school districts in 17 states is now available online. Data from all 50 states will be available online by the end of 2004. Learn how your school and school district are doing.

More NCLB News

Learn about NCLB

5. Special Ed Muckraker Needs Your Help

Dee Alpert, publisher of The Special Education Muckraker, is doing research for an article about whether No Child Left Behind is being implemented for children with disabilities. She needs information from parents of kids who attend public special education schools.

Issue: No Child Left Behind requires State Departments of Education to publish School and School District Report Cards that include test results and graduation/dropout information for kids with disabilities. Despite this requirement, many State Departments of Education do not publish test results and graduation/ dropout information for kids with disabilities who attend regular public schools. Even more do not publish this information for kids who attend public special ed schools.

Request for Info: If you are the parent of a child with a disability who attends a school that does not publish test scores and/or graduation/dropout rates for kids with disabilities, how does this affect you? Are you able to get the necessary information to determine if the school is educating your child and other kids with disabilities properly?

If a placement in an all-special ed. school has been recommended for your child, but School Report Card information is not available for that school, how did you get the information you need to evaluate whether the school can really meet your child's needs? Were you able to get this information any other way?

Did you complain about the lack of assessment and graduation/dropout information to anyone at your State Education Department or the United States Department of Education? If you did, what was the result?

NOTE: Please send your replies to Dee Alpert at editor@specialeducationmuckraker.com.

Learn more about the Special Education Muckraker

6. Bridges4Kids News Digest - 5 Stars

If you want to stay current on special education news and issues - but also want to keep your email box from overflowing - we recommend that you subscribe to Bridges4Kids News Digest.

Bridges4Kids News Digest is a free, weekly electronic newsletter of news and information about parenting, child development, early intervention, special education and disabilities. The newsletter also includes listings of national and regional conferences you may want to attend.

Read the June 25 Issue of Bridges4Kids News Digest

The newsletter is published by Bridges4Kids, a nonprofit parent organization providing a comprehensive system of information and referral for parents of children from birth through transition to adult life.

7. Join Pete & Pam Wright for Advocacy Training Programs in CA & MI (July 2004)

"What a marvelous conference! I often leave sped presentations angry and/or guilty because of all the things that have been done or not done. This time I left encouraged, inspired and armed!"

Wrightslaw legal advocacy programs focus on four areas: special education law, rights and responsibilities; tests and measurements to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

July 17-18:
Boot Camp, Sacramento, CA - Only Boot Camp on the West Coast This Year!

Sponsored by Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT). Download information flyer & registration form.

July 21, 2004: Advocacy Training Program, Grand Rapids, MI.

Sponsored by The Williams Syndrome Association. Download Registration Form

Fall 2004: Programs are scheduled in Indianapolis, IN; Hartford, CT; Virginia Beach, VA. Full schedule

"Your Boot Camp was the most useful CLE I've ever attended. CLEs are notoriously boring and unpleasant. Your program was neither and I learned a lot, even as an experienced practitioner in the field." - Rob Mead, KU Wheat Law Library

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.)

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.

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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