The Beacon
Journal of Special Education Law & Practice
ISSN: 1536-7193                               

Fall 2003 (V. 2, N. 2)


In this Issue

Under the Microscope
by Rod Paige


Next Wave of Special Education Litigation

Reexamining Rowley: A New Focus in Special Education Law

Something Fairly Amazing Happened on December 9

NCLB for Attorneys & Advocates: Reading Instruction, Research, Assessments

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Special education law is an exciting, rapidly developing area of law.

The Beacon
, a multi-disciplinary electronic journal of special education law and practice from Harbor House Law Press, publishes articles and essays for attorneys and advocates who represent children with disabilities and others who are interested in special education legal topics. Each issue of The Beacon focuses on a theme and includes practical and theoretical articles.

In this issue, we look at changing standards in education and special education, reading, research and assessments, education reform, and No Child Left Behind. "This country is in the midst of a revolution in education, a revolution that promises educational emancipation and equitable inclusiveness for all students - not some - all!" (Rod Paige, Secretary of Education)

The Beacon seeks to ensure that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, and that children with disabilities are free from discrimination. We believe the dialogue in this journal will help to shape the future.

Our goal is to publish useful, readable content. If you are interested in special education law and practice, we think you will enjoy The Beacon.

If you are interested in submitting an article to The Beacon, we would like to hear from you. Please review our our Submissions Policy. We welcome your ideas about topics for future issues of this journal.


Theme: Winds of Change

This issue of The Beacon includes articles by attorneys, an advocate, a speech by the Secretary of Education, and an excerpt from Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, the new book from Harbor House Law Press. Learn about changing educational standards, reading and reading research, and the No Child Left Behind Act. Download newsletter.


Feature Articles

In a December 15 speech, Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige declared, "This country is in the midst of a revolution in education, a revolution that promises educational emancipation and equitable inclusiveness for all students - not some - all!"

In his speech, Under the Microscope, Paige describes a two-tiered educational system with "islands of excellence" where "some fortunate students received a world-class education" and where "millions of children were left behind." He says, "In my view, that was wrong. It was outrageous. Most of those left behind were from low-income or minority families or children with special needs." Paige discusses resistance to change, and the need for transparency and parental involvement. Read speech

The standard of education for children with disabilities is an "appropriate education." In 1982, the
U. S. Supreme Court defined "appropriate" in the landmark case, Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Amy Rowley, 458 U. S. 176 (1982).

Rowley has often been a roadblock for children with disabilities. While some courts found creative ways to use Rowley to open doors for children, others used Rowley to slam doors shut. This is changing.

In Reexamining Rowley: A New Focus in Special Education Law, attorney Scott Johnson argues that the "some educational benefit" standard in Rowley no longer reflects the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Rather, state standards and educational adequacy requirements provide the substantive requirements of FAPE, and these standards exceed the "some educational benefit" benchmark. This requires a fundamental change in how courts, school districts, and parents should view special education services.

Johnson writes, "The 1997 Amendments to the IDEA make clear that the foundation underlying that reasoning in Rowley is no longer present. That is, the IDEA is no longer intended to simply provide students with access to educational services that provide some benefit. The IDEA is intended to go well beyond this by ensuring that students with disabilities receive educational services that incorporate the high expectations in state educational standards and in state court cases regarding an appropriate education." Read article

In Something Fairly Amazing Happened on December 9, Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind describes the shift from the Rowley "appropriate" standard to a new standard in the newly-published NCLB regulations: "Several critical elements in title I as amended by the NCLB Act ensure that schools are held accountable for educational results, so that the best education possible is provided to each and every student."

Heath writes, "A word appeared in the Federal Register that I did not expect to see. The word in this section describes what is required by No Child Left Behind. It is one small word - the word best." Read article

Research shows a high correlation between poor reading skills, learning disabilities, and juvenile delinquency. NCLB includes the requirement that schools and school districts use effective, research-based reading remediation programs so all children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

NCLB for Attorneys and Advocates: Reading Instruction, Research & Assessments provides guidance about how to use NCLB to open doors for children with disabilities. Learn about reading, the essential components of reading programs, scientifically based reading research, and reading assessments.
Read article


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Download this issue of The Beacon. Future issues will focus on high-stakes testing, damages, and class action litigation.

We welcome articles by new contributors. If you have an idea or wish to contribute an article, please review our submissions policy.

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