What's Going On These Days?
- OUR CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND
APRIL 1, 2005
WHAT'S GOING ON THESE DAYS?
As we all know, the new IDEA (“IDEA 2004”) has been signed into law. But that doesn’t mean that it IS the law. Actually, most of the provisions of IDEA 2004 only go into effect on July 1, 2005. (Primarily, it’s the “highly qualified teacher” provisions that went into effect immediately rather than on July 1.)
But we’re hearing that some schools are telling parents otherwise. We’re also hearing that some schools are telling parents that they must “redo” their IEPs so that they are “in compliance” with the new law. But that’s not really the case, as IDEA 2004 does NOT supersede any state laws/regulations that impose additional obligations on the school. Nor does it REQUIRE schools to decrease protections to families and students with disabilities. Instead, an IEP drafted in accordance with IDEA ’97 and corresponding state law would still in most situations be “in compliance” with the new law as well. (For instance, the new law no longer requires that short-term objectives be included in the IEP – but it certainly doesn’t prohibit schools from using them.)
So for now, understand that most of IDEA ’97 is still in effect, and even after July 1, your state laws and regulations will still be in effect unless they have been changed. Please keep an eye on your own states – several states have already begun the process of attempting to weaken their own laws and regulations to mirror the weakened federal law. And at the same time, we need to pay attention to the federal Department of Education, which will be issuing draft regulations shortly. Following that, there will be a public comment period before the final federal regulations are issued. So we need to pay attention on multiple tracks these days. But for any of us parents who have more than one child (I have 3), we’re old pros at that, aren’t we?
To learn more about IDEA 2004, you can participate in a Web cast being presented on Wednesday, April 6, 2005 from 3:00-4:30pm Eastern time; 2:00pm Central time; 1:00pm Mountain time; 12:00pm Pacific time; 11:00am in Alaska; and 9:00am in Hawaii. In this Web cast, Dr. Troy Justesen, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Dept. of Education, will provide an update on the development of the federal regulations, outline the next steps in the process as well as opportunities for public comment, and will address key issues raised during the first comment period to help us all understand some of IDEA 2004’s changes and what those changes may mean for students, parents and schools. You can submit questions ahead of time to webcast@.... To link to this Web cast and download accompanying materials visit www.ilru.org/online/calendar.html. For instructions on how to access a Web cast visit www.ilru.org/online/instructions.html. Please visit this site ahead of time to test and ensure your computer is configured and updated to participate. For technical assistance, you can check out FAQ’s at www.ilru.org/online/FAQ.htm. Or contact a Web cast team member at webcast@... or 713-520-0232 (v/tty).
Also, a series of public meetings to discuss the draft IDEA regulations has just been announced. (The draft regulations themselves are not expected to be released until late April or May.) These meetings will be held in June and July, 2005, from 1pm-4pm, and from 5pm-7pm at the following locations:
Monday, June 6, 2005 in San Antonio, TX
Friday, June 17, 2005 in Nashville, TN;
Wednesday, June 22, 2005 in Sacramento, CA;
Friday, June 24, 2005 in Las Vegas, NV;
Monday, June 27, 2005 in New York, NY;
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 in Chicago, IL; and
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 in Washington, DC.
(For more information on these meetings, please see the link on our site: p078.ezboard.com/fourchildrenleftbehindfrm14.showMessage?topicID=231.topic)
Finally, don’t forget about the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)! There’s serious talk that the federal Dept. of Education, under the leadership of its new Secretary, Margaret Spellings, is considering raising the current 1% cap on the number of scores on alternate achievement tests that can be counted as proficient under NCLB. Current NCLB regulations state that schools cannot count the scores of more than 1% of all students (roughly 9% of special education students) as proficient for AYP (adequate yearly progress) purposes if those students were tested to alternate (non grade level) achievement standards. The Dept. of Education, under pressure from the school lobbies, is considering raising that cap to 3% (or nearly 30% of all special education students). This would mean that schools could expect that nearly 30% of all special education students are unable to take grade level testing – a disastrous mindset of “low expectations” for our kids! Take a look at the sign-on letter posted on our site to see what we’re talking about (p078.ezboard.com/fourchildrenleftbehindfrm28.showMessage?topicID=115.topic) and then consider writing to Secretary Spellings and letting her know what you think.
Still and lot to think about and a lot to do – our work, it seems, is never done. Till next time…have a great weekend!
Sandy Strassman Alperstein, today's parentvolunteer@...
©2004 Our Children Left Behind.
Our Children Left Behind [OCLB] was created and is owned/operated by parent volunteers (Shari Krishnan, Tricia & Calvin Luker, Sandy Strassman Alperstein, and Debi Lewis). Permission to forward, copy, and/or post this article is granted provided that it is unedited and attributed to the author(s) and www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com. For more about OCLB or to share information, please contact parentvolunteer@....