Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Response to an Attack on Parents' and Students' Civil Rights

 AASA Document Nothing More Than A Shameful Attack on Parent and Student Civil Rights - Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.

Important news on special education policy - COPAA releases a response to the American Association of School Administrators (ASAA) paper on "Rethinking Due Process."

Read the response here:
AASA Document Nothing More Than A Shameful Attack on Parent and Student Civil Rights

Share the link with others, and feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is an IEE?

Special Education Attorney Mandy Favaloro from A2Z Educational Advocates explains IEEs in this short video.  Click here for a sample letter to request an IEE:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Local School Related News: L.A. teachers union wins grant for school-reform model

UTLA won a grant of $150,000 which will "go a long way toward replicating schools operating along the lines of Woodland Hills Academy, a middle school in the west San Fernando Valley... [a] campus [where] teachers make up half of a leadership team that also includes parents and administrators..."

Read the full article in the L.A. Times online at

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fast Fact Friday: What does "supplementary aids and services" mean?

Under the IDEA's Definitions, "the term `supplementary aids and services' means aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate..."  20 U.S.C. section 1401(33).

The "Least Restrictive Environment" ("LRE") mandate of the IDEA requires that the school district ensure that "special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily."  34 C.F.R. section 300.114(a)(2)(ii).  In making decisions regarding placement in the LRE, the District must consider the full range of supplementary aids and services that if provided would enable the child to participate in the general education environment to the maximum extent appropriate.  See 34 C.F.R. section 300.115(b)(2).  Required IEP content includes a "statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services... to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child... to advance appropriately towards attaining the annual goals, to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum... and to be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children..."  34 C.F.R. section 300.320(a)(4).

In short, supplementary aids and services are supports designed to enable the child to participate in the LRE.

Some examples of supplementary aids and services to facilitate placement in the LRE include:

  • Adult assistance or aide support to facilitate appropriate classroom behaviors
  • Adult assistance or aide support to facilitate social interactions
  • Consultation by service providers or therapists (i.e. OTs, speech pathologists, etc) with teachers about a child's needs
  • In-service trainings to teachers and staff
  • Services and training by an inclusion specialist
  • Curriculum adaptations and modifications
  • Adapted materials
  • Classroom accommodations

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Thoughts on an Inclusive Society

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality."

Today, as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and as we celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama, our society's history of struggle for civil rights and equality for all citizens is heavy in my mind and heart. 

Education is the civil rights issue of our generation.  As a society, we must find a way to ensure that all children are afforded an equal right to the benefits of our educational system.  It is not enough to merely open the doors of public education to every student; it is time that we work to ensure that every student is given the fullest extent of what education means - the chance to learn, grow and progress and one day to have the tools and skills to be an independent, productive, contributing and happy member of society.

While the right to equal educational opportunity and access has come a long way since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950's and 1960's, we still have a long way to go to ensure that all children - ALL children - receive meaningful educational benefit to the fullest extent possible, and that NO children are excluded or denied that benefit on the basis of race, disability, poverty, ethnicity, background, etc.

It was John F. Kennedy who said, in a speech on June 6, 1963, "Our current education programs, much as they represent a burden upon the taxpayers of this country, do not meet the responsibility...The fact of the matter is that this is a problem which faces us all, no matter where we live, no matter what our political views must be."

Whether you believe it or not, discrimination - even segregation - in public schools still exists today.  It exists in schools throughout the country that are segregated by ethnicity, poverty, and even by language.  It exists when students with disabilities are segregated from their peers and refused access to their neighborhood schools.  We have a long way yet to go. As I have said before, I continue to believe that only when we eliminate discrimination in schools and ensure truly equal access to a meaningful education will society as a whole move towards greater inclusion of all persons.

So today, as you honor MLK Day, I ask that you take the time to think about the issues of segregation and discrimination that still plague us with their immorality and injustice, and to think about what you can do to make a difference and work towards a more inclusive society.