Summer School for Parents: Academic Standards; Rights & Responsibilities; Did Your State Pass or Fail?

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June 27, 2007

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 396
Subscribers: 50,959

In This Issue:

Summer School for Parents

Get Your State's Academic Standards

Use IDEA & NCLB to Build a Better Special Education Program

Learn About Your Legal Rights & Responsibilities

IDEA Report Cards: Did Your State Pass or Fail?

Breaking News!

IDEA Report Cards Available Now!

Did Your State Pass or Fail?


Includes the NCLB CD-ROM with dozens of publications & resources


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Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043


Copyright 2007, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

It's mid-term in Summer School for Parents! You completed your second assignment last week.

Many thanks for your responses to last week's articles and the questions you sent. It's clear that you are doing your homework about evaluations, measuring your child's educational progress and writing SMART IEPs.

Now it's time to learn about your legal rights and responsibilities and how to use your state's academic standards to negotiate a better program for your child. Find out which is more appropriate for your child - an IEP or a 504 Plan.

This week's assignment:

  • Get your state's academic standards
  • Learn how you can use new requirements in IDEA 2004 to improve your child's special education program
  • Learn abou t your legal rights and responsibilities

Your final assignment will appear in the next issue of The Special Ed Advocate. If you missed an assignment, you will find it in previous issues in the Newsletter Archives.

Web version of this newsletter.

News! The U. S. Department of Education published IDEA Report Cards on all states and territories - did your state pass or fail? Cl ick to learn more.

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Get Your State Academic Standards

When Congress reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, they emphasized the need to have high expectations for children with disabilities. Congress wants to ensure our children's access to the general curriculum so they can "meet the challenging expectations" we have for non-disabled children.

When Congress reauthorized the No Child Left Behind Act, they wrote that the purpose of the law was "to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments."

What do you know about your state's academic standards? Academic standards describe what children in each grade need to know and be able to do.

You need to get a copy of your state's academic standards. Go to the website of your
state department of education. Download your state's academic content standards. Your state may refer to them as "academic standards" or "grade level expectations" or "curriculum frameworks."

When you read your state academic standards, you'll know what a child should know and be able to do in each grade - what the school should be teaching each child, including children with disabilities.

Print the academic standards for the grade your child will attend next year. Use the academic or curriculum standards and information from current evaluations of your child to write appropriate, measurable IEP goals for the upcoming year.

To learn more about how you can use the laws and your state's academic standards to get a better education for your child, read Parents, Laws and NCLB: An Interview with Sue Heath.

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Use IDEA & NCLB to Improve Your Child's Special Education Program

Not sure how you can use IDEA and NCLB to improve your child's special education program?

10 Tips: How to Use IDEA & NCLB to Improve Your Child's Special Education Program, parent attorney Wayne Steedman shows you how IDEA 2004 creates a higher standard for a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). Wayne also describes ways you can use requirements in NCLB to obtain better services for your child.

Learn how to include research-based instruction in your child's IEP. Learn how to ensure that your child's IEP goals are SMART - specific, measureable, realistic, and time-specific.

Wayne describes pitfalls to avoid and suggests ways to resolve disputes without resorting to a due process hearing. He also tells you what you should do if you cannot resolve your dispute with the school.

Download your free copy of SMART IEPs from Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition.

Take a look at the IDEA Parent Guide and Toolkit on the NCLD website for more information.

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Learn About Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities

IDEA 2004 is a powerful tool to improve educational results and outcomes for children with disabilities.Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you represent your child's interests. Before you can use IDEA as this tool, you need to learn about your legal rights and responsibilities.

Read (and reread) the overview and five sections of IDEA. Use a highlighter. Make margin notes. Use sticky tabs to mark areas of interest.

IDEA Overview

Section 1400: Findings and Purposes
Section 1401: Definitions
Section 1412: State Responsibilities (Catch-all)
Section 1414: Evaluations, Reevaluations & IEPs
Section 1415: Procedural Safeguards, Mediation, Due Process, Discipline

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition
includes the full text of key special ed laws and regulations:

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and regulations
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Family Educational Records and Privacy Act
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • No Child Left Behind Act
  • U.S. Supreme Court Decisions
  • Analysis and Interpretation

To learn more IDEA 2004, see Building the Legacy:IDEA 2004 at the U.S. Department of Education.

IDEA Report Cards: Did Your State Pass or Fail?

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education published IDEA Report Cards for the 50 states and 8 territories. The news is sobering.

Only 9 states met the standards for educating children with disabilities. 41 states and 8 territories fell into the “needs assistance” or “needs intervention” categories. If these states do not significantly improve how children with disabilities are educated, they face sanctions, including loss of federal funds.

Weaknesses cited by the U.S. Department of Education include:

  • States fail to ensure that local school districts comply with the law
  • States fail to comply with requirements about the transition from school to college or work

Did your state pass or fail on the IDEA Report Card? You'll get the answer on this Fact Sheet that lists the status of all states and territories.

To learn more about how this process works and what your state is required to do, read IDEA Report Cards: Did Your State Pass or Fail?

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Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

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