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
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.
goal is to publish useful, readable content. If you are interested
in special education law and practice, we think you will enjoy The
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
Winds of Change
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
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
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.
The standard of education for children with disabilities is an "appropriate
education." In 1982, the
U. S. Supreme Court defined "appropriate" in the landmark
Hudson Central School District v. Amy Rowley, 458 U. S. 176
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
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
Fairly Amazing Happened on December 9, Sue Heath, co-author
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
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.
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.
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
Beacon is free of charge. You may subscribe by entering your
email address in the "Subscribe Box" at the top of this page.
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