The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
October 12, 2004

Issue -
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

1. How to Get a Trained, Certified Reading Teacher

2. Feds Publish Inaccurate Info on Graduation Rates

3. Court Overrules Decision in Stay-Put Case as "Unfair to Parents"

4. Special Ed Due Process Hearings

5. Surviving Due Process DVD

6. Wrightslaw Programs in VA, OK, FL, NJ, OH, NY

7. Subscription & 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: How to get a certified reading teacher; feds publish inaccurate info on graduation rates for disabled kids; court overrules decision in stay-put case as "unfair to parents"; due process hearings; Surviving Due Process; winter schedule - Wrightslaw programs in VA, OK, FL, NJ, OH, NY. Download this issue of The Special Ed Advocate.

Quote of the Week:
"If you do not plan and organize the pursuit, you are likely to wind up as road kill." (To learn who said this and why, scroll down to #4)

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

1. How Can I Get a Trained, Certified Reading Teacher?

"My 8 year old daughter is in third grade. She has dyslexia and is having difficulty learning to read, spell and write. I asked for a trained, certified reading teacher. The school says her special ed teacher is 'highly qualified' because she has 10 years of experience. The teacher is not trained or certified in any reading remediation program. What can I do?"

Sue Heath says, "Trying to get by as a reading teacher without appropriate training makes as much sense as buying sheet music to become an opera singer. A teacher can't use the Wilson Method, or any other method, unless she has the required training."

Read Sue's advice to this parent in How Can I Get a Trained, Certified Reading Teacher for My Child?

Read more Doing Your Homework articles.
Learn about reading and reading instruction. Read more Frequently Asked Questions.

In addition to writing about creative advocacy strategies in Doing Your Homework, Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind. She provides training and seminars on No Child Left Behind. Learn more

2. Feds Publish Inaccurate Info on Graduation Rates for Disabled Kids

According to Dee Alpert, attorney and publisher of The Special Education Muckraker, "The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) finally published 'exiting data' for the 2002-2003 school year. The news is not good."

Graduated: 39.4%
Dropped out: 20.5% or 48.5%

Confused? You aren't alone. "No matter how you cut the cake, less than 40% of students with IEPs who stopped attending school in 2002-2003 did so because they graduated with a diploma or certificate."

In Feds Publish Inaccurate Info on Graduation Rates for Disabled Kids, Ms. Alpert uses this conflicting data to point out problems with the U. S. Department of Education's position on IDEA reauthorization. She expresses frustration at the department's failure to list research-validated methodologies of remediation and instruction, saying "Nothing in the proposed bills to reauthorize the IDEA will improve this situation."

Read Feds Publish Inaccurate Info on Graduation Rates for Disabled Kids.

More News l IDEA Reauthorization News & Alerts l Report Cards & Statistics

3. Court Overrules Decision in Stay-Put Case as "Unfair to Parents"

In Mackey v. Arlington Central School District, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the parents of a child with a learning disability were entitled reimbursement for his tuition in a private school because the earlier denial was caused by an untimely decision.

Although the review officer was derelict and did not render his decision within the timelines required by IDEA, the decision by the lower court did not allow the parents to be reimbursed for their child's tuition. This allowed the district to "escape the financial consequences of pendency placement for which the District otherwise would have been responsible." Read Mackey v. Arlington Central School District

More special ed caselaw.

4. Special Ed Due Process Hearings

The IDEA includes rules of procedure to resolve disputes between parents and schools. These rules include mediation, due process hearings, and appeals to state or federal court. (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, page 71)

A due process hearing is usually a formal, contested, adversarial trial. Special education cases are similar to medical malpractice cases, with battles of expert witnesses, and the emotions of bitterly contested divorce cases with child custody and equitable distribution issues.

How to Resolve Special Education Disputes: Negotiate, Mediate or Litigate. Learn how to use negotiation, mediation and litigation to resolve disputes - Pete Wright describes the pros and cons of each strategy.

How to Prepare for a Due Process Hearing. Vermont advocate Brice Palmer advises how to prepare for a hearing or review, focuses on importance of planning and organizing. "If you do not plan and organize the pursuit, you are likely to wind up as road kill."

How to Put on a Special Education Case - Sonja Kerr, Alaska Protection & Advocacy attorney, provides advice about tactics and strategy to the lawyer who is handling his or her first special education case.

The Choreography of Trial Preparation. Barbara Ebenstein, New York attorney and vice-chair of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, describes choreography, music, and trial preparation as creative endeavors. Instead movement or music, the litigator uses the medium of information from documents and the testimony of witnesses.

Learn more about due process hearings..

5. Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

Before you request a due process hearing, you should be familiar with the federal statute and regulations and your state special education statute and regulations. You should also watch Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board.

Surviving Due Process takes you through a special education due process hearing, from initial preparation to testimony by the final witness. You see direct examination, dramatic cross-examination, objections, and arguments between counsel. The DVD has chapters so you can skip to a scene that that interests you. This feature makes it easy to use the DVD in training programs and classes.

Surviving Due Process
is based on an actual case.

"I saw how people on both sides saw the problem, why each side believed so strongly in their program, and why making a decision was not as clear-cut as I thought it would be." - Melinda

"I started watching the DVD while walking on the treadmill. It was so fascinating that I increased my time from 30 to 60 minutes - I couldn't bear to turn it off! - Anne

The Story l The Cast l  Scenes l Internet Orders  l Fax & Mail Orders

6. Wrightslaw Schedule: Programs in VA, OK, FL, NJ, OH, NY

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

November 12-13, 2004: Virginia Beach, VA

December 4, 2004: Oklahoma City, OK (FREE to Oklahoma parents & educational caregivers!)

January 21-22, 2005: Orlando, FL

February 18-19, 2005: Cherry Hill, NJ

February 23-24, 2005: Cincinnati, OH

March 4-5, 2005: Long Island, NY

Wrightslaw special education law & advocacy programs focus on four areas: special education laws; tests & measurements to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies. Participants receive two books, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, with their registration (Value: $59.90).

"The Wrightslaw Special Education Law Seminar in Michigan was a tremendously rewarding experience and will forever change our practice." - Bryan I. Eder, Esq., Chudnof & Eder, PLC

Don't procrastinate - register today! These programs are often "sold out" ahead of time.

If you are interested in bringing a Wrightslaw program to your community, please read FAQs about Seminars. (We are now scheduling programs for 2006.)

7. 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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