The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
May 4, 2005

Issue - 308
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

1. What Can Parents Ask the School to Do?

2. IDEA 2004: Preparing Children for Further Education

3. IDEA 2004: Transition Services & IEPs

4. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004

5. News! Amicus Brief Filed in Schaffer v. Weast

6. Do You Know of Any Schools that Use Research to Improve Reading?

7. EducationNews - Subscribe Today!

8. Mistakes People Make - Parents & Schools

9. Wrightslaw Programs in NH, IL, MI, HI

10. Subscription & Contact Info

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

Highlights: What parents can ask the school to do; IDEA 2004 - preparing children for further education; IDEA 2004 - transition & IEPs; IDEA 2004 - coming soon; amicus brief filed in Schaffer v. Weast; are any schools using research to improve reading?; EducationNews; mistakes people make - parents & schools; Wrightslaw programs in NH, IL, MI, HI; find help on Yellow Pages for Kids.

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!
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1. My Child is Not Learning to Read - What Can I Ask the School to Do?

The lead article in the April 26 issue of the Special Ed Advocate was "My Child is Not Learning to Read - What Can I Ask the School to Do?" The link to the article did not work. The correct link is:

In What Can I Ask the School to Do?, Sue Heath answers questions about what parents can ask the school to do. Learn about IEPs, research-based reading programs, retention, how to prepare for meetings, and other thorny issues.

Sue writes Doing Your Homework, a column about creative advocacy strategies.

As the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind and a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, Sue provides seminars and training on No Child Left Behind. Learn more

2. IDEA 2004: Preparing Children for Further Education

Section 1400(d) is most important statute in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act because it describes the overall purpose of the law: "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living"

The phrase "further education" (i.e., college, advanced vocational training) is new in IDEA 2004. Section §1400(c)(14) describes "effective transition services to promote successful post-school . . . education."

For articles, guidance, and answers to questions about IDEA 2004, please go to IDEA 2004 at Wrightslaw.

In The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004: Overview, Explanation and Comparison of IDEA 2004 & IDEA 97, Pete Wright describes the substantive changes to the five key statutes of IDEA 2004 by section and subsection. Text added to IDEA 2004 is in italics. Text deleted from IDEA 97 has been struck through.

If you have Wrightslaw: Special Education Law or Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, you
will want to download and print this publication and keep it with your book.

3. IDEA 2004: Transition Services & IEPs

IDEA 2004 changed the definition of "Transition Services" and included new language about "post-school activities, post-secondary education. The new definition reads:

"The term 'transition services' means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that--

(A) is designed to be a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;

(B) is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests . . . " 20 U. S. C. §1401(34)

Transition Services for Education, Work, Independent Living - this short article describes changes in the definition of transition services in IDEA 2004.

More articles about changes in IDEA 2004.

4. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004

We are working on Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 (ISBN: 1-892320-05-3), a new publication that includes the full text of Parts A and B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004), extensive commentary, discussion of changes from IDEA 97, and cross-references. The format, layout, and statutory explanations are similar to Wrightslaw: Special Education Law.

Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 will be available before July 1, 2005 when IDEA 2004 goes into effect.

Subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate newsletter will receive advance notice before Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 is available to the public. Watch your email box - we'll keep you posted.

5. News! Amicus Brief Filed in Schaffer v. Weast

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to resolve a split among circuits on whether parents or school districts bear the burden of proof in special education due process hearings. The Court will hear oral arguments in Schaffer v. Weast during the 2005-2006 term. News article

In the 30 years since the special education law was enacted, the high court has issued rulings in five special education cases. (Rowley, Burlington, Honig v. Doe, Florence County v. Shannon Carter, and Cedar Rapids v. Garret F.)
The last ruling came in 1999 when the Court found in favor of a child who needed related services in Cedar Rapids v. Garret F, 526 US 66 (1999)

On April 29, the ARC, the Autism Society of America, the Epilepsy Foundation, NAMI, United Cerebral Palsy, and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty filed an amicus brief on behalf of the child in Schaffer v. Weast. When you read this well-written brief, you will realize why this case is important to you. (We will post more briefs as we receive them.

To get the latest news and download briefs in this important case, go to Schaffer v. Weast.

More special education news.

6. Do You Know of Any School that is Using NIH Research to Improve Student Reading?

Jimmy Kilpatrick, publisher of EducationNews, asks:

"Do you know of any school in the nation that has adopted and used successfully the NIH research in reading? If so, have these schools addressed the needs of kids in the bottom 20%?"

"Although advocates for children with disabilities and U. S. Department of Education want to bring this into reality, it seems that nothing is changing.

Sue Heath, research editor for Wrightslaw, replies:

Things are changing.
No Child Left Behind attempts to address reading problems by requiring states to use federal funds on research-based reading programs.

When Congress reauthorized NCLB in 2002, they added the legal definitions of reading, essential components of reading instruction, scientifically based reading research, and diagnostic reading assessment to the law. (See 4 Great Definitions about Reading in No Child Left Behind)

Here are links to two recent reports on reading proficiency in high poverty schools and the impact of No Child Left Behind. They will you an idea of what is changing, where, and to what degree. There are more reports available - these are just two that I have handy.

Inside the Black Box of High-Performing High Poverty Schools (February 2005) This study looks at a group of high- poverty, high-performing schools in Kentucky to determine how they broke the pattern of low achievement. The lessons from these schools can help other educators who face similar challenges.

The Impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on Student Achievement and Growth: 2005 Edition (April 2005) A national research project indicates that student achievement has improved since No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was implemented, but student growth has declined slightly. Unless teaching and learning improves, schools will not reach the requirement of 100 percent proficiency by 2014. The study also evaluated achievement gaps among ethnic groups.

7. EducationNews.Org - Subscribe Today!

Are you interested in education and special education? If your answer is "yes", we encourage you to subscribe to EducationNews.

In today's issue, you learn about the privilege gap, "drill and kill", how the SAT measures writing skills, bilingual children who fall through the cracks, private, public and charter schools, Star Teachers, and much more.

EducationNews provides links to education news around the world. Nationally recognized experts provide commentaries on various aspects of education. EducationNews staff writers cover the latest education issues and bring you a thorough, complete analysis of events, policies, and situations which affect education today.

Daily News l Commentaries and Reports l Subscribe

Help others learn about special education, law and advocacy. Download and distribute our Free Newsletters Flyer (2 pages, pdf)

8. Mistakes People Make: Parents & Schools by Bob Crabtree, Esq.

Mistakes People Make - Parents. Because the stakes are so high, it is difficult for parents of children with special educational needs to advocate calmly and objectively for the educational and related services their children need. Read this article to learn about the mistakes parents make.

Mistakes People Make - Schools. Anything a school system does that undermines parents' trust creates a climate that is costly in dollars, time, peace of mind, and the quality and success of services given to the child. This article describes the most common mistakes school systems make.

Learn about effective advocacy in Advocacy 101.

9. Coming Up! Wrightslaw Programs in New Hampshire, Illinois, Michigan, Hawaii

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Programs focus on four areas: special education laws including significant changes in IDEA 2004; how to use the bell curve to measure educational progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

Manchester, NH: May 6-7, 2005 (Boot Camp)

Springfield, IL - May 13-14, 2005 (Boot Camp)

Oakland Schools, Waterford, MI - May 24, 2005 (Special Education Law & Advocacy Training) - Attorney Wayne Steedman and advocate Pat Howey present a full-day Wrightslaw training program - NEW!

Hilo, HI - July 29, 2005 - LDA Conference (Keynote Speakers & Presenters)

Hilo, HI - July 30-31, 2005 - Boot Camp

Schedule l Programs l Speakers l FAQs

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 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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