The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
January 25, 2005

Issue - 295
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

Annual Progress Report & Thank You Note

Top 10 Articles in 2004

Top 10 Cases Downloaded in 2004

Top 10 Topics in 2004

Wrightslaw Programs in FL, NJ, NY, IN, MO, AZ

IDEA Update: Schedule of Public Meetings on IDEA Regs

Expert Answers Questions About Dyslexia & Reading Problems

Subscription & Contact Info

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need navigate the challenging, changing world of special education.

Highlights: Progress report & "thank you" note from Pete & Pam Wright; top 10 articles downloaded in 2004; top 10 cases downloaded in 2004; top 10 topics in 2004; Wrightslaw programs in NJ, NY, IN, MO, AZ; schedule of public meetings on IDEA regs; expert answers questions about dyslexia and reading problems. Download this newsletter.

Quote of the Week: "Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open."

1. Annual Progress Report & Thank You Note

It's time for our annual progress report - and a big thank you from the Wrightslaw staff. Gratitude.

Progress Report: Wrightslaw

In 2004, more than 1.4 million people visited the Wrightslaw site. You downloaded more than 5.3 million pages - that's more than 20 million hits.

Visitors: 1,400,283
Pages Viewed: 5,321,282
Hits: 20,395,552

You came from dozens of countries - from Antigua to Zimbabwe.

Busiest months: March & November
Slowest months: July & August :>)

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (2004 Alexa rankings)

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

Between 1998 and 2004, we published 291 newsletters. The first issue of The Special Ed Advocate went out to 200 people in April, 1998. Today, more than 45,000 people receive the newsletter. We thank you for telling your friends and colleagues about The Special Ed Advocate! Subscribe

Books & DVDs

In 1999, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law was published. The book is now in the eleventh printing with more than 50,000 copies in print. In October 2001, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy was published. This book is now in its seventh printing with more than 35,000 copies in print.

In December 2003, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind was published. This book is in the second printing. Professors and teachers at colleges and universities around the country are adopting Wrightslaw books for courses. How to Order Exam Copies

With the Advocacy Challenge Discount, individuals and organizations save 50% on bulk purchases of Wrightslaw books for training and conferences. Internet OrdersFax, Mail and Phone Orders

In October 2004, we released our first DVD - Surviving Due Process: When Parents and the School Board Disagree - Stephen Jeffers v. School Board. Two weeks ago, we learned that Surviving Due Process won an Award of Excellence from Aegis Awards.

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training

In 2004, Pete and Pam did 10 Advocacy Training Programs, 8 Special Ed Law & Advocacy Boot Camps, were Keynote speakers at several conferences - and spent 129 nights in hotels. Because requests for Wrightslaw legal & advocacy programs exceed our ability to provide this training, the time had come to get help from other experienced special education attorneys and advocates.

Parent attorney Wayne Steedman and advocate Pat Howey will provide special education training programs. On March 31, Wayne and Pat will do a Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Program in Fort Wayne Indiana.

No Child Left Behind Seminars

Sue Heath is the Research Editor for Wrightslaw and the co-author, with Pam and Pete Wright, of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind. Sue speaks to groups of parents, advocates, and educators about No Child Left Behind,
reading, research based instruction and strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools. To learn more, please contact Sue by email at sueheath@wrightslaw.com

Thank You!

As we reflect on these stunning figures, we feel deeply grateful. We want to thank you for making 2004 another successful year. By working together, we are making a difference for 6.5 million children with disabilities and their families.

2. Top 10 Articles Downloaded in 2004

1. Functional Behavioral Assessments: What? Why? When? Where? Who? School districts are required to conduct functional behavioral analyses of problem behaviors. In this article, Dr. Stephen Starin describes problem behaviors, functional behavior assessments, environmental manipulation, and qualifications and training of evaluators.

2. Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Educator, Advocate & Attorney. Your child has received three years of special education for reading problems. Has the child caught up with the peer group? Has the child fallen further behind? How can you tell? What do standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalents mean?

3. SMART IEPs. Draft chapter from our book, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy.

4. Side-by-side analysis of Senate Bill 1248, House Bill 1350 with Parts A and B of the IDEA by the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS). (in pdf)

5. Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance for Parents. Comprehensive article that describes Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) from legal and practical perspectives. Learn how to write measurable IEP goals and objectives. Read this article in conjunction with our article about Tests and Measurements.

6. 4 Great Things About Reading in NCLB. Regardless of their "category" or label, most kids with special educational needs have deficits in reading. No Child Left Behind includes four legal definitions that Pete is using in his cases: reading; essential components of reading instruction; scientifically based reading research, and diagnostic reading assessments.

7. A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind. Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, describes new requirements for teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, annual testing in math and reading. Learn about new options for parents, including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school. Printer-friendly version of A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind to distribute.

8. Game Plan: How to Write IEP Goals and Objectives. From teachers to parents, it seems like everyone is confused about how to write good IEP goals and objectives. This Wrightslaw Game Plan will help you get started. 

9. Art of Writing Letters. Learn how to write effective letters that gain positive results. We introduce our "Letter to the Stranger" concept that is a trademark of our clients.

10. Blame Game! Are School Problems the Kid's Fault? 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.

More articles. Legal articles.

3. Top 10 Cases Downloaded in 2004

1. Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305 (1988). Decision from U. S. Supreme Court in discipline case on behalf of emotionally disturbed children who had academic and social problems. The Court clarified that procedural issues are designed to protect children from school officials; parent role; stay put; schools shall not expel children for behaviors related to their handicaps.

2. Board of Ed. of Hendrick Hudson Central School Dist. v. Rowley 458 U.S. 176 (1982). First decision in a special education case by the U. S. Supreme Court; defined "free appropriate public education.

3. Community Consolidated Sch. Dist. #93 v. John F. (IL) Important decision in discipline; procedural violations, prior written notice requirements, manifestation determination review, suspensions for more than 10 days, expedited hearings, special education and related services under IDEA, "passing grades" and FAPE, homebound instruction violates LRE, more. Word  PDF

4. Stefan Jaynes v. Newport News Public Schools U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia. Parents reimbursed for ABA Lovaas program for child with autism, procedural safeguards, notice, statute of limitations. Appealed to Fourth Circuit (2000).  In pdf   In Word

5. Florence Co. Sch Dist Four v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7, (1993). Landmark decision issued in 34 days by a unanimous 9-0 Court. If the public school defaults and the child receives an appropriate education in a private placement, the parents are entitled to reimbursement for the child's education. This ruling opened the door to children with autism who receive ABA / Lovaas therapy.  Links to all decisions, transcript of oral argument in Carter

6. Pamella Settlegoode v. Portland Public Schools, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld 1 million dollar jury verdict, reinstated award to special ed teacher who was retaliated against and fired for advocating for her students; clarifies freedom of speech issues for teachers. Decision in pdf (April 5, 2004)

7. Brown v. Bd of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954). In this landmark decision, the Supreme Court found that segregated public schools are inherently unequal; decision is relevant to children in segregated special education placements.

8. Reusch v. Fountain, This is a leading case about extended school year (ESY).

9. Doe v. Withers. This case stands for two significant propositions: that schools and teachers can be held accountable for refusing to follow IEPs and that schools and teachers can be sued for dollar damages in jury trials. This was the first special education jury trial against public school educators.  Click here to read the Complaint and here to read the Jury Order in Doe v. Withers. 

10. W.B. v. Matula, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Availability of damages under Section 504, IDEA, and Section 1983 when district refused to evaluate, classify and provide appropriate services to disabled child; exhaustion, qualified immunity, due process.

4. Top 10 Topics in 2004

Information and articles on the Wrightslaw site is organized into scores of topics. List of topics. These topics elicited the greatest interest in 2004.

1. Section 504 (Discrimination)

6. Autism

2. No Child Left Behind 7. Special Education Caselaw
3. IDEA Reauthorization 8. IDEA Statute & Regs

4. Behavior & Discipline

9. Evaluations, Assessments, Testing

5. IEPs

10. Advocacy

5. Put a Wrightslaw Program on Your To-Do List

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Programs focus on these areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure educational progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

Winter Schedule: 2005

Cherry Hill, NJ: February 18-19, 2005 (Boot Camp)

Cincinnati, OH: February 23-24, 2005 SOLD OUT!

Long Island, NY: March 4-5, 2005 (Mini Boot Camp)

Fort Wayne, IN: March 25, 2005 (Advocacy Training) Attorney Wayne Steedman and advocate Pat Howey present a Wrightslaw Advocacy training program.

Kansas City, MO: March 29, 2005 (Details Soon)

Glendale, AZ: April 1-2, 2005 (Boot Camp)

All participants in these programs will receive two books, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, with their registration (Value: $59.90).

No Child Left Behind: Melrose, MA: February 3, 2005.

f you are interested in bringing a Wrightslaw program to your community, please read FAQs about Seminars.

6. IDEA 2004 Update: Schedule of Public Meetings on IDEA 2004 Regs

The U. S. Department of Education announced the times and locations for public meetings to solicit input on IDEA 2004 regulations. If you are involved in advocating for children with disabilities, we strongly urge you to attend.

Schedule of Public Meetings on IDEA Regs. Learn more about IDEA 2004.

7. Expert Answers Questions About Dyslexia & Reading Problems

If you have questions about reading and reading problems, visit the Reading Rockets site on Thursday, January 27 from 2-3 p.m. ET for a chat with Sally Shaywitz, M.D. Dr. Shaywitz is the author of the best-selling book, Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level

Dr. Shaywitz will answer questions about dyslexia and other reading difficulties. She is especially interested in questions from parents. Learn more.

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-2004 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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