MAY 29, 1998 ..................................................................................................................... NUMBER 94
TOPICS IN THIS ISSUE INCLUDE:
OPPOSITION TO IDEA 97 CONTINUES TO GROW
A group of school superintendents and others are continuing their campaign to enact a Gorton-like amendment to IDEA that would allow "for the immediate removal to an interim alternative educational setting for the violent student who exhibits verbal and physical aggression with intent to harm."
This proposed amendment is a thinly veiled attempt to re-segregate large numbers of children with disabilitiesall disabilities. It is a campaign to restore the old warehouse institutions that have gradually disappeared under IDEA.
The letter being widely distributed ignores the protections against real violence that have been enacted in IDEA 97 after careful thought from every direction.
These educators should engage in training about the changes in the law instead of promulgating inaccurate scare tactics.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO INTO AN IEP AGAIN.......
OOPS!!!!! The sharks are in the water again. Oh that was JAWS. Our story last week began with the Big Bad Wolves (BBWs). And the BBW's are at it again this week. NPND learned that a group of BBW's visited their Congressional delegation recently to get another Gorton-like amendment added to the House Appropriations Bill. It seems as though these BBW's just won't quit. Following is part of the message included in a letter which is being sent all over the country attempting to motivate colleagues to forward similar letters to all Congressional representatives; "As educational leaders who desire that public education survive we urgently request your support of an amendment that would legally allow for the immediate removal to an interim alternative educational setting for the violent student who exhibits verbal and physical aggression with intent to harm."
First, the newly reauthorized IDEA 97 already allows for this type of action. The way this is written, you would think that educators hands are tied and they cannot remove a student when deemed necessary.
Reports are coming from all over the country describing interpretations of the law that are basically incorrect. Until the Regulations become final, parents and educators must read the law and implement it. If they are unsure of the interpretation, they need to contact the Office of Special Ed, US Dept of Education.
WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
How can parents, educators, friends and advocates help? How can we defend the rights of our sons and daughters? Stand up and get counted. The story of you and your child is one that needs to be told. We must pull together, work with our educators and let Congress and the President hear our voices.
Thank you to all of the parents and advocates who have E-mailed and faxed their commitment to serve on a team for the upcoming months. It is a big commitment to say you will write or fax every week. We need you and the stories of your family. We need for you to get the PLEDGE attached to this Friday Fax and get everyone you know....who knows your child.....to sign the PLEDGE. Gold stars to any parent who gets their local or state school board member to sign their child's PLEDGE. Congressional representatives and the Secretary of Education were very impressed with the Book of Pledges we handed out at the IDEA hearing. Add your voice, and a picture, to the hundreds of other parents who have sent in their PLEDGE.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, AND I AIN'T GONNA QUIT
This is the title of one parent's commitment to be an E-mailer and a faxer every week. Congressional staff told us that a 2 line E-mail is considered a post card and a 2-3 paragraph E-mail is counted as a letter. The PLEDGES are considered a letter (the best thing you can send) because they are personal and contain personal information.
IDEA is a good law! There are hundreds of schools in this country where teachers and educational personnel are doing outstanding jobs. Tell Washington about the law. It needs to be implemented and enforced. It needs to be supported and funded.
ARE YOU WILLING TO JOIN?? (choose your team)
I COMMIT TO THE FOLLOWING TEAM:
_____ "P" Team - these are the folks who get every one they know to circulate or sign, or both the PLEDGE - IDEA WORKS.
_____ "E" Team - these are the E-Mailers. These are the folks who tell their Congressional leaders an ongoing story via cyberspace.
_____ "F" Team - these are the Fax hounds that live to FAX it.
I will communicate _________ times each week.
Fax this form to (202) 638-7299, or send via E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make the Pledge
Commit to All Children
To: President Clinton, Hill Leadership and Leaders in the Department of Education.
From: People who care about the education of children with disabilities including students, parents, teachers, special education administrators, school administrators, related service providers, advocates, and friends.
We, the undersigned, believe that ALL children with disabilities are entitled to an appropriate education. We, as a team of parents and professionals working together, commit to implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 on behalf of: ________________________________________(student's name)
Signatures: (please indicate whether you are a parent, teacher, administrator, etc) __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________
Student's Story: Please write at least a paragraph describing how receiving an appropriate education has benefited this student. Include information such as the student's age, and where he or she lives. If possible, please include a picture.