Welcome to Madison IEP. This board contains general news on education at the National, State, and Local levels, and detailed information on IDEA 2004 including commentaries on IDEA 2004, IEP Guides, Standards-Based IEPs, Response-To-Intervention, information on IDEA categories (Autism, Deaf-blindness, Deafness, etc.), research articles and studies, information on Assistive Technology and NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard), and information on due process cases and legal issues related to special education.
Visit the Madison IEP message board for general news on education, a detailed resource of information on special education, and documentation of our problems with Madison City Schools. The resource of information on special education will help you become a better advocate for your special education student and take a bite out of inaccurate or incomplete evaluations, vague IEP goals, failure to implement or halfhearted implementation of IEPs.
IDEA 2004 was signed into law on December 3, 2004. IDEA 2004 is a continuing effort to improve education results for students with disabilities. Main areas of reform achieved through the 2004 Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) included:
- Accountability for Results. Aligns provisions on assessments and the contents of the individualized education programs (IEPs) with NCLB.
- Quality Teachers. Strengthens requirements for special education teachers to be highly qualified in their core subjects, with some flexibility for States, school districts, and new teachers of multiple subjects.
- Paperwork Reduction Pilots. Includes option of multiyear IEPs for 15 States and gives the Secretary authority to waive paperwork requirements for up to 15 States for up to four years to reduce paperwork burden for teachers and to increase their time for instruction.
- Parental Choice. Lets parents choose early intervention services for their pre-school children.
- Research-Based Practices. Places new emphasis on using evidence-based information for all aspects of special education, creates the new Center for Special Education Research and places it in the Institute of Education Sciences, which coordinates all education research and will help inform special and regular education practices.
Source: Office of Special Education Programs
While the intent of IDEA 2004 is clear, the implementation can sometimes fall shore since courts in "interpreting IDEA have made it clear that school districts are not required to maximize the potential of each child with a disability." (Due Process Hearing, Dept. of Ohio, SE 1163-2002). Generally school districts are allowed to provide Chevrolet services to a student with a disability and not required to provide Cadillac services. As summarized in Reexaming Rowley:
The lack of substantive standards for FAPE, when combined the current "Cadillac versus Chevrolet" perspective, lowers expectations and facilitates a minimalistic view of the substantive education that students with disabilities are entitled to receive.
Being a parent advocate for a student with a disability is challenging and requires knowledge of what IDEA 2004 guarantees for your student's educational needs, an understanding of the IEP process and how to develop an IEP that meets your student's unique needs, and learning how to settle disputes. Some recommendations to start you on the road to becoming an effective parent advocate are:
- Learn about eligibility rules. A good book to read from the NOLO series is The Complete IEP Guide, How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child by Attorney Lawrence M. Siegel.
- Understand the evaluation process and obtain an independent evaluation. Familiarize yourself with the Wrightslaw site. Their section on Assessments, Evaluations, and Tests explains the evaluation process and what the tests and measurements mean. Take the training on Evaluating Children for Disability available through the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHY).
- Learn how to develop an effective IEP that meets your student's unique needs. Take the Training on IEPs at NICHY.
- Obtain training and information from a Parent Training and Information Center in your area. Each state provides training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. The training will help you participate more effectively with professionals in meeting your student's educational needs. Visit the Technical Assistance ALLIANCE for Parent Centers to find a Parent Training Center in your area.
- Remember you are the expert on your student with a disability. You know their strenghts and weaknesses better than anyone else. Your resume as a Parent Advocate looks good if your student has an effective IEP that meets their unique educational needs.