At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education. In this issue, we focus on plans to reauthorize the IDEA and parent empowerment.
Highlights: Reauthorizing IDEA (IDEA 2002); IDEA 2002 Hearing Begin; new IDEA 2002 Resources; addition to Free Pubs Library; Pete & Pam go to North Dakota, Oklahoma, California, Illinois.
Reauthorizing IDEA (IDEA 2002)
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is a federal law. Since the law was passed by Congress in 1975, it has been revised and reauthorized it several times. Congress plans to eauthorize the IDEA statute in 2002.
If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you need to be aware of changes to the law that may affect your child and your family. If you are a teacher or special education service provider, changes in the IDEA will affect you.
To get news, hearing schedules, and other information about the Reauthorization, go to the IDEA 2002 Page.
IDEA 2002: Hearings Begin
On March 21, 2002, a hearing about reauthorizing the IDEA was held in Washington, DC. Attorney Bob Berlow, a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, attended the hearing and provided an article about the testimony.
The Bush Administration may send the proposed bill to Congress this summer. Because this is an election year, the bill may stall in Congress, or it may pass. Read Mr. Berlow's article about the reauthorization hearings.
New IDEA 2002 Resources Page
Many reports and studies have identified the strengths and weaknesses of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and our system of educating children with disabilities. Our new IDEA Reauthorization Resources page includes reports and recommendations from:
Read these reports. Familiarize yourself with the issues.
Ask your Senators and Representatives to read these reports before they undertake the job of revising this law. When you write to your members of Congress, use information from these reports to support your position and requests.
On April 8, the Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) launched the IDEA Rapid Response Network. This Network will:
* Build a nationwide cadre of parents and supporters who can be called on to respond to proposed amendments or changes to IDEA that may weaken, eliminate or compromise the civil rights of children with disabilities during the Congressional reauthorization process; and
Educate and inform parents about proposals to amend IDEA.
DREDF will provide Network members with regular updates and alerts on the reauthorization process and will coordinate with other organizations that provide information to parents.
If you wish to receive email information about reauthorization and/or participate in the Network, please send an email to preserveIDEA@dredf.org
Include your name, contact information (postal address, telephone number, and email) and whether you want updates or wish to participate in the Network. More information about the IDEA Rapid Response Network is available on the DREDF site.
No Child Left Behind - What Will it Take? (2002)
In January 2002, President Bush
No Child Left Behind Act into law. How will the No
Child Left Behind Act affect your child's education?
Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education (2002)
Are you interested in reading, reading instruction, teacher training, and research-based reading methods? If the answer is "yes," read "Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education" published by the National Academy Press.
The authors of Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education make several recommendations:
Use this report to help your school board understand that using research-based reading methods will reduce the number of children who are not learning to read. You can download a free copy of "Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education" one page at a time from
or purchase a bound copy from the NAP.
Free Pubs Library
One obstacle in advocating for a child with a disability is finding the time to do research. We spend hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.
You can download dozens of free publications about children's mental health, reading, IEPs, behavior problems, harassment, high-stakes testing, transition planning, retention and social promotion, zero tolerance, and other topics from our Free Pubs Library.
Pete & Pam Go West: Training Programs In ND, OK, CA
On April 26 & 27, we do a two-day Advocacy Boot Camp in Minot, North Dakota.
On May 7, we do a full day of advocacy training in Oklahoma City.
If you are an Oklahoma parent of a child with special education needs, preregister now! You can attend this program at no charge -- and you will get both Wrightslaw books as a part of your registration! Download flyer about Oklahoma program -
NEW! On Saturday, May 11, we will do one-day advocacy training program in Sacramento. (Details available soon.) If you are interested, please check our schedule page over the next few days.
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