NLDline

Subj:    THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE, AUGUST 4, 1999 (V. 2, NO. 17)
Date:    8/4/99 8:54:16 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From:    pwright@wrightslaw.com (Pam & Pete Wright)
Sender:    owner-special-ed-advocate@wrightslaw.com
To:    special-ed-advocate@wrightslaw.com

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The Special Ed Advocate

The Online Newsletter About

Special Education and the Law

August 4, 1999 Vol. II, No. 17

Visit us today at:

http://www.wrightslaw.com

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The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special
education legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, effective
educational methods, and Internet links.

We publish this newsletter occasionally, when time permits. Back issues
of The Special Ed Advocate are archived at our web site -

http://www.wrightslaw.com

As a subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate, you will receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases and other events. Contact, copyright, and subscription information is at the end of this
newsletter.

If your email address changes, please unsubscribe your old email address and subscribe your new email address.

For a "printer friendly" copy of the newsletter, go to

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/nwltr/1999/nl_99_0804.html

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1. NEWS BREAK! NEW YORK AGREES TO OVERHAUL SPECIAL EDUCATION

2. NEWS BREAK! 8TH CIRCUIT RULES THAT TITLE II OF ADA IS
UNCONSTITUTIONAL

3. “TAILORING READING TO THE CHILD”

4. NEW TOLL-FREE ORDER NUMBERS FOR “WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW”

5. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

6. CONTACT INFORMATION

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1. NEWS BREAK! NEW YORK AGREES TO OVERHAUL SPECIAL EDUCATION

For years, New York has been criticized for placing too many children with disabilities – especially black and Hispanic boys – in segregated special education classrooms. After being placed in segregated classes, few of these children ever leave.

Nearly 400,000 children are enrolled in New York special education programs, including 84,000 in New York City.

The federal government has threatened to sanction New York with the loss of $335 million in aid unless New York ends these discriminatory practices.

Negotiators for the state Senate and Assembly have been trying to avoid sanctions from the federal government. The negotiators have proposed a plan to reform special education that would take effect in the fall of 2000.

On August 3, 1999, The New York Times published “Plan Is Set for Overhaul of Special Ed in New York” by Raymond Hernandez. According to this article:

“The plan would provide additional financial resources to districts that want to remove children from special education and place them in regular classrooms, where the extra funds would be used to provide tutors, therapists and other support.”

“This agreement protects $335 million in federal funds for the education of disabled children," he said, "while taking important steps to avert inappropriate referrals to special education and encourage the placement of children to regular, integrated classrooms.”

“The deal still requires the approval of state education officials, who in turn must notify the federal government that the state has taken actions to avert penalties. Christopher Carpenter, a spokesman for the State Education Department, said the department could not comment on the plan because it had not had the opportunity to review the details.”

“Under the current system, school districts receive additional state aid for each child placed in special education, but critics say the additional money has led educators to identify disabilities in children who are simply troubled or underachieving to glean extra funds.”

The URL for this New York Times article is -
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/regional/080399ny-special-ed-edu.html

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2. NEWS BREAK! 8TH CIRCUIT RULES THAT TITLE II OF ADA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Sonja Kerr, parent attorney from Minnesota, advised that-  “In an opinion issued July 23, 1999, in Alsbrook v. Arkansas Commission on Law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled  that Title II of the ADA is not a proper exercise of Congressional power under the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the Court said that Congress did not have the power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to require states to be subject to the ADA. Thus, the Court concluded that an ADA claim against state defendants is barred by the U.S. Constitution under the Eleventh Amendment.”

On August 3, 1999, we received an alert from Justice-For-All: “This means that in the 8th Circuit, which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, Title II of the ADA is unconstitutional. It is unclear whether these states have any ADA Title II responsibilities or if advocates have any Title II claims.”

“What is clear is that ADA is under major attack not only in the 8th Circuit but all over the country. Some case testing the constitutionality of the ADA will almost certainly go before the Supreme
Court next session.” (Justice-For-All)

Because other Courts have ruled that Title II is constitutional, this new 8th Circuit ruling creates a “split among Circuits.” We expect that the high court will be called upon to resolve this split.

The URL for the Alsbrook decision is -

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/case_Alsbrook_ARCommLaw_99_0723.pdf

If you live in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota or South Dakota, you should make regular visits to Sonja Kerr’s website. This will help you stay on top of legal developments in your Circuit. Go to http://www.kerrlaw.com

For more information about this issue and Justice-For-All, contact Fred Fay, Chair, Justice-For-All: jfa@jfanow.org Website: http://www.jfanow.org

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3. “TAILORING READING TO THE CHILD”

On August 3, 1999, Gail Russell Chaddock, staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, wrote an excellent article about the need to tailor reading programs to the needs of individual children and to improve teacher training. Here are some highlights from Chaddock’s article. The URL of the article is at the end of this summary.

“After decades of bouncing between supposedly cure-all reading methods, lots of kids are still not learning the most basic skill of all. And new testing programs at both the national and state level are making that failure harder to hide.”

“In the highest-poverty public schools, more than 2 in 3 fourth- graders can't read, according to the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). By the 12th grade, 23 percent of students are still reading poorly.”

“But recently, experts are calling for - and politicians are mandating – a ‘balanced approach’ that tailors a program to each child's specific needs.”

“Freeing teachers from relying exclusively on one method could ensure that more children become competent readers. But it requires teachers to be trained in and have access to materials for a range of methods – currently not the case in most schools.”

“Every program we've ever studied works with some kids and leaves many behind,” says G. Reid Lyon, chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.”

“For 60 percent of US children, reading is a ‘formidable challenge,’ he says. For poor kids, the struggle to learn to read can be especially tough.”

“There is an epidemic of reading difficulties among economically and socially disadvantaged children in the United States,” Mr. Lyons told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week.”

“Recent research shows that learning to read – or failure to do so – begins long before kids enter school. Children that are talked to and read to early start school with a big advantage.”

“To make up early deficiencies, schools must provide focused and intensive remedial work as early as possible, experts say.”

“Good professional development for reading teachers has been one of the weakest points in US education. Many teachers' colleges still do not require students to diagnose and correct reading difficulties. And experts caution that a flood of untrained tutors won't meet the need.”

“One of the challenges of tutoring poor children is finding qualified volunteers. The presence of a skilled on-site reading consultant to write lesson plans, prepare materials, and give feedback can make up for those deficiencies.”

“You can make a difference, but only if you have somebody on site who can intervene and teach the tutors as well,” says Marcia Invernizzi, who helped set up a volunteer literacy program in New York, based on a program, "Book Buddies," that she co-founded in Charlottesville, Va.”

“Discussing ways to deal with untrained tutors, Dr. Invernizzi said “Many [in the Bronx] didn't finish high school and English was not their first language. Their own schooling experience really varies and was not particularly positive . . . you can work with such volunteers if there is a reading specialist on site every day.”

“States are just beginning to be sure that they provide institutes for teachers to learn the phonics they didn't learn in teachers’ colleges,” says Sandra Stotsky, deputy commissioner for academic affairs and planning at the Massachusetts Department of Education, who is completing a study on new state literacy standards.” “It's part of a hopeful picture. We're beginning to restore the notion
that the role of the teacher is teaching,” she adds.” The URL for this article is:

http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/08/03/fp13s1-csm.shtml

For more information about research-based reading programs, start at LD Online –

http://www.ldonline.org/

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4. NEW: 24-HOUR TOLL-FREE NUMBERS FOR “WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW”

For folks who want to order “Wrightslaw: Special Education Law” but don’t want to order online, Harbor House Law Press has established 2 new toll-free numbers.

* * Toll-free Orders by Phone * *

Call 877 LAW IDEA (877-529-4332) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., ET.

After 5:00 p.m., leave your request, name and telephone number on the toll-free voicemail.

* * Toll-free Orders by Fax * *

Print the order form, fill in the requested information, and fax toll-free to 800 863-5348. Fax modem users can "save to file" this form, input the correct information with a text editor, then fax toll-free to 800 863-5348.

For more information about the book, WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW, go to

http://www.wrightslaw.com/bkstore/ourbooks/Law_Book_Announce_99_0712.htm

For updated information about ordering, go to

http://www.wrightslaw.com/bkstore/ourbooks/Orderform.html

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5. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

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In the beginning of your message, insert the following words exactly, with the hyphens, all lowercase

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6. CONTACT INFORMATION

Pete and Pam Wright
c/o The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Phone: 804-257-0857

Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: webmaster@wrightslaw.com

The resources at this website are copyrighted by the authors. They may be used for non-commercial purposes only. They may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Peter W. D. Wright.

It is not necessary to obtain our consent to link to our website or copy, print and distribute our articles and newsletters for nonprofit purposes so long as the material is reproduced in its entirety and credit is given to Pete and Pam Wright and "wrightslaw" including the URL -

http://www.wrightslaw.com

Copyright 1999, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

END