Summer School for Parents:
Rights & Responsibilities;
Academic Standards; Tactics & Strategy

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July 16, 2008

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 447
Subscribers: 63,480

In This Issue:

Don't Rely on the School to Explain Your Rights & Responsibilities

Download & Read the Commentary

Sizing Up State Academic Standards

Advanced Tactics & Strategy

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Learn Your Rights & Responsibilities

Know the IDEA Statute & Regulations

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ATTN! VA Parents
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Contact Info

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



Copyright 2008, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your web site without explicit permission.

Congratulations on a job well done on Assignment #2! You've warmed-up by completing the vocabulary quiz and reviewing the correct answers. This week you'll be getting a serious workout.

Summer School for Parents: Week Three Mini-course

Resolve to find an uninterrupted time and a quiet place to complete the mini-course in this issue. You have some important reading to do.

This issue of the Special Ed Advocate is a mini-course on what you need to learn about your legal rights and responsibilities, your state academic standards, and information on how you can get schools to provide the programs and services your child needs.

Please don't hesitate to forward this Summer School for Parents mini-course to other families, friends, and colleagues.

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Don't Rely on the School to Explain Your IDEA Rights & Responsibilities

If you are a longtime subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate, you know we advise parents to learn about their rights and responsibilities in IDEA 2004.

As the parent of a child with a disability, you need to know what the law actually says. You need to know how to find answers to your questions in the IDEA statute and regulations. 

Don't rely on school people to tell you about the law. School personnel's knowledge of the law is often dependent on what they were told in an in-service training session or by "word of mouth." Few school staff read the law.

If you don't have a copy of IDEA 2004 and the regulations, get one now!

Parents, teachers, and other special education service providers should have a copy of the IDEA statute and special education regulations.

You can download most of these documents from the Wrightslaw site. Click here for an overview of the IDEA statute.

The Commentary is an Invaluable Tool!

Download and Read the Commentary!

When the Education Department published the federal special education regulations in August 2006, they also published the Analysis of Comments and Changes ("Commentary") and Model Forms.

In the Commentary, the Department explains why a regulation was changed, not changed, and often clarifies the "plain meaning" of a term.

You'll find answers to your questions in the commentary.

Learn how to use IDEA 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act.

When Congress reauthorized IDEA 2004, they specifically noted the intent to coordinate IDEA 2004 with the No Child Left Behind Act.

In 10 Tips: How to Use IDEA 2004 to Improve Your Child's Special Education, parent attorney Wayne Steedman describes how to use IDEA 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act to ensure that the needs of children with disabilities are met, while also improving educational outcomes and results.

Parents and teachers must learn about the requirements of NCLB and IDEA 2004 to ensure that these legal requirements are met.

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Sizing Up State Academic Standards

State academic standards tell you 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.

For a child with a disability, unless there is an evaluation stating that a child has a significant cognitive disability and is not able to learn grade level material, the IEP team must develop a plan of specialized instruction to teach the material in the academic content standards to your child.

What do you know about your state's academic standards?

Are they "...clear, specific, content-focused standards that define what students are expected to learn in every grade or course in English, math, science and social studies..?"

The latest review of state standards from the American Federation of Teachers found that 35 states have inferior standards overall, including seven that lack clear standards for any grade or subject—Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Faring almost as poorly is a second group of states that meet the AFT's criteria in fewer than 25 percent of grades and subjects—Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont and Wyoming.

Read the complete report, "Sizing Up State Standards, 2008", to find out if your state standards are strong or weak.

"Well-written grade-by-grade or course-by-course standards are critical because they drive curriculum, professional development, instruction and assessments, and provide guidance to textbook publishers."

Your child's IEP must include "a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aides and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child or on behalf of the child to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum ..." 20 U.S.C. 1414(d).

These academic content standards define the "general education curriculum" that Congress said your child should be involved in and make progress in.

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."

Print the academic standards for the grade your child will attend next year. You will be able to use the academic standards and information from current evaluations of your child to write appropriate, measurable IEP goals for the upcoming year.

Read this article, Your Child's IEP & Progress in the General Education Curriculum, from advocate Sue Whitney Heath. You'll learn more about how to use state standards to develop your child's IEP.

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Advanced Tactics and Strategies

One purpose of our Summer School for Parents series is to help you improve your advocacy skills by learning effective tactics and strategies.

Your goal is to get the services your child needs.

We always advise parents to use tactics and strategies when making requests - you are more likely to succeed when you do.

How NOT to be a Yappy Parent

Read Learn to Ask Questions, Get Services. You will find out how not to shoot yourself in the foot by being the "Know-it-all" parent. If you take over the role of "Expert," you leave no role for the educators.

In this article you'll learn how to use the strategy of asking questions to identify solutions...and more.

Do you know what you can ask the school to do for your child? Do you know what to do when the school ignores your request?

Submit Written Requests and Reports

Advocate Pat Howey recommends strategies to help you prepare for IEP meetings in When the School Ignores Your Request for Help.

You'll learn about putting your requests in writing, preparing a report for the IEP team, and how to make a list of your child's

  • strengths,
  • challenges,
  • and needs.

For more tips, tactics, and strategies, consult the Special Education Survival Guide.

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What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

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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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