Show # 51: Peter Wright of Wrightslaw
Peter Wright is a well-known attorney, specializing in special education law. He argued an important special education case, Florence County School District v. Carter, before the Supreme Court. This is particularly impressive, since Pete himself has learning disabilities, and talks openly about his struggles in school as a child.
Pete has also written many books, including From Emotions to Advocacy, Special Education Law, and No Child Left Behind. The books empower parents to understand what the laws governing special education say and allow, helping parents to become more effective advicates for their children in the process.
In part I of our conversation, Pete discusses the difference between an IEP and 504 accommodations, and why you might want one over the other, and while children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate education, this does not mean they are entitled to the "Best" education, only an adequate one.
One specific section of the law we talk about is 20 USC Sec. 1414- Evaluations, Eligibility Determinations, Individualized Educations Programs, and Educational Placements. In this section, either a parent or a State educational agency can request an evaluation, but the "clock" only starts ticking when the parent consents to the evaluation. The State then has 60 calendar days, under the federal statute, to complete the evaluation. If parents request testing but don't specifically consent. using this language at the same time, the State can legally drag their feet until they receive a "consent"- then they are on the 60 day clock.
This is but one of the examples of "magic language" parents need to know to protect their child's rights, and I know you'll find Pete's information useful and enlightening.
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Click here to Download Conversation with Peter Wright- Wrightlaw - Special Education Law Attorney and Expert