4 Reasons Why Inconsistent State Special Education Laws May Be Harming Your Child’s Education!

4 Reasons why inconsistent State Special Education Laws may be Harming Your Child’s Education! By JoAnn Collins Key words: Autism, PDD, Asperger’s, IDEA 2004, specific learning disability, SLD, IEE’s at public expense, FAPE
Are you the parent of a child with Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or Asperger’s that is having a dispute with your school district? Are you concerned about your States special education laws, and whether they are in compliance with IDEA 2004 (federal special education law)? Many states seem to have special education laws that are inconsistent with federal special education laws. This article will discuss why these inconsistent State laws may be harming your child’s education.

1. Some school districts are using State laws to deny children eligibility for special education. For example: In Maine the State laws require that children suspected of having a specific learning disability (SLD) must score 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two or more areas of psychological processing, but cannot be more than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean (mean is average). In OSEP policy letter to Hugo OSEP states that this is inconsistent with federal special education law because it may result in children with SLD not being properly identified. A child not receiving needed special education and related services could negatively affect the child’s education and future adult life!

2. Some school districts are using State laws to deny children needed ESY services. For example: In New York their State laws say that in order for a child to be provided ESY services they must have substantial regression (with a long recoupment period). They also state that a child needs to be in self-contained placements, have severe multiple disabilities, or be in home and hospital placement. This is inconsistent with IDEA 2004 which states that ESY services must be determined on an individual basis, and given if a child needs the services so that they can receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

3. Some school districts are preventing parents from “obtaining” IEE’s at public expense by using State laws requiring “pre-notification” or “requesting” of the IEE. IDEA 2004 (federal special education law) states that parents have the right to “obtain” an IEE at public expense when they disagree with a school evaluation. Some States laws are taking out the word “obtain” and putting in the words “request” or “pre-notify.” For Example: In my State of Illinois the regulations state that parents “must request” an IEE at public expense rather than parents “have the right to obtain” the evaluation. This may prevent you from determining what your child’s disabilities are and what services your child needs for FAPE

4. Some school districts are using State laws to deny parents “meaningful participation” in all aspects of their child’s education. For example: In Maine their State law requires parents to submit written statements of concern at least three days before a scheduled IEP meeting. In OSEP policy letter to Breton OSEP states, “However, the IDEA does not permit a public agency to establish criteria for parental participation in an IEP meeting. Therefore, we maintain that it would be inconsistent with… IDEA for a local educational agency to adopt a blanket policy requiring parents to provide a written copy of their concerns to the IEP team three days before the meeting in order to have their concerns addressed in that meeting.”

Use this information in your advocacy to ensure that your school; district is in compliance not only with State law, but also with Federal law.

Lawn Care Business Flyer Design and Distribution Tips

There are many ways to go about promoting a new or existing lawn care business. One of the traditional low cost methods that has been popular in the industry is advertising via flyers.

When researching advertising methods for your lawn business you may find that many people are saying that flyers are no longer an effective advertising method in the 21st century. While this method may not be effective in certain areas, countless lawn care business owners across the country are still having success with this method so it is definitely worth a try before you right it off.

In this article we offer some advice on how to go about putting together effective flyers for your lawn company and how to go about getting them out there for prospects to read.

Free Lawn Care Business Flyer Templates

You may consider having your flyers professionally designed but for those starting up or running on a strict budget there are numerous free flyer templates available online that you can customize to the needs of your own business. Using this method along with free distribution methods means that you can virtually undertake a campaign for free and only have to consider printing or photocopying expenses. You can also design your own using a word processing program like ‘Microsoft Word’.

Elements of Good Lawn Business Flyer Design

1) Don’t underestimate the importance of a great headline as without one the entire flyer is likely to be discarded without being read. Don’t make the mistake of using the name of your lawn mowing business in the headline but rather use a headline that is interesting, arouses the customers curiosity, gives them an attractive offer or let’s them know what you can do for them and how well you can do it.

2) Be sure that your flyer copy includes a strong call to action. If customers read it once it is unlikely that they will read it again so try to inspire them to pick up the phone right away by offering them a ‘limited time’ offer.

3) Unless it would result in complications with your printing method you may as well use both sides of your flyers. While one side can be promotional the other side could be more informational and feature more precise details about your lawn maintenance services.

4) Keep your flyers clean, neat and uncluttered. Make sure that all the information and contact details are correct before you go and print thousands of copies with mistakes in them.

5) If you are planning on running flyer campaigns to advertise your lawn care business over many years then it will pay to do some testing. Try out different headings, offers, styles and layouts and track results so that you can find out what works best.

6) Consider stapling one of your business cards to your flyer. While people are likely to throw a flyer away they are much more likely to file a business card away for future reference and a business card will add a professional element to your ad. Some lawn care owners now prefer smaller promotional pieces on cardboard that are more like the size of a postcard and find that people respond better to these than they do with traditional full sized flyers.

Distribution

1) While going door to door distributing flyers can still work well you must check first with your local post office about what is acceptable as some areas have ordinances regulating unsolicited mail. Handing flyers directly to prospects in person will usually be more effective anyway so look for people who are out in their gardens, strike up a conversation with them and hand them a flyer if things go well.

2) Give each of your existing clients a few flyers and ask them to pass them on to friends and family if they have been satisfied with your service. Let them know that you are trying to expand your business and would really appreciate it if they wouldn’t mind mentioning you to people that they know with lawns. If you know the client quite well and you are not too pushy with the way you do it then this approach can work wonders.

3) There are places that will let you post your lawn care business flyers for free. By putting flyers on community notice boards outside libraries, schools, churches and any other organizations that you may belong to you help to add to your exposure.

4) Consider placing some of your flyers under the windscreen wipers of cars that are parked on the street or in parking lots in your area. Proceed cautiously here though as this practice is frowned upon in some areas and you may be held liable if your flyers end up scattered all over the street.

5) Join forces with other local service businesses and promote multiple businesses on the same flyer. If each business that is involved puts in the same effort into distributing them then your exposure will be much greater (even if it is diluted down a little be sharing the space with other companies).

6) It takes good a number of views before an advertisement usually sinks into a consumer’s mind. For this reason it is foolish to run campaigns just once but rather you should be trying to hit people again and again with the same message.

Whatever you do, try to make your flyer the one that will stand out above all the others and avoid having it immediately deposited into the trash by the reader. Get your lawn care business off to the best possible start by testing flyers out as a means of promoting your business.

Why You Need an Education Law Solicitor

If you work for an educational establishment then you’re bound to need an education law solicitor at some point.

Here’s why.

1. Schools, colleges and universities need to be just as accountable as other organisations, and private companies, so you’ll want to make sure that everything is managed properly and complies with all relevant laws.

2. Healthy and safety is perhaps more important in an educational environment than in other workplaces, due to the ages of the pupils and students. You’ll need to make sure that your working practices, and out of school activities meet the necessary legislations and law, so that you minimise the risk of accidents and incidents to staff and students in and out of the classroom.

3. You’ll want to make sure that your pupil and staff discipline policies are up to date and that unruly pupils are dealt with properly and in accordance with the relevant policies.

4. Although you work in the education sector, you need to know that employment laws still apply. Any instances of discrimination need to be taken seriously and any issues with staff contracts or working hours will need to dealt with efficiently and effectively. An employment solicitor may be able to assist you in addition to an education law solicitor.

5. You’ll need to make sure that your recruitment policies are up to date, and that they are not discriminatory. You might need to carry out further checks and investigations on potential new staff before you can employ them, and so will need to make sure that this is done legally.

6. As you will be dealing with a lot of paperwork, such as staff contracts and school policies, you’ll want to make sure that these are reviewed regularly so that any advances in technology, or changes to staff duties are incorporated. For example, you’ll need to make sure that your staff and students are aware of the implications of the potential effects of breaking IT or privacy policies.

7. You might be dealing with different suppliers and contracts, and so will want to make sure that you get the best deal for you. An education law solicitor can prove invaluable so that you’re not wasting time and resources on finding out whether the contract is legally binding, and what it really means to you.

8. Some educational establishments are reliant on donations or funding. All contributions and payments need to be properly processed and everything will need to be above board and legal for auditing and accounting purposes.

9. Estate management is an important aspect of modern educational work, and so your duties might involve negotiate the buying or selling of land, or need to be aware of the importance of planning, and dealing with the board of governors. You might also want to know how to make better use of the space that is already available to the school, college or university.

10. Perhaps you’re considering a new building for your educational establishment, and want to know how to get the planning permission you need and meet the relevant environmental and construction laws that will affect you. An education law solicitor will be able to share their expertise, skills and knowledge in order to help you.

Now you know more about the services they provide, do you need an education law solicitor?

Education Law in the 21st Century

While it is not an area of law in which a great many cases are undertaken, the cases and issues that end up arising and being litigated in the education law area tends to prove to be very significant. This has been the history of education law and remains the reality in this day and age. Through this article you are provided an overview of some of the more significant and transitory issues associated with education law in this day and age.

A good many of the cases that have arisen in the education law arena have centered on equal access to educational opportunities based upon issues pertaining to ethnicity, race, sex and religion. Some of the most significant issues pertaining to education law have involved access to educational experiences by people of minority races. Of course, the most significant case in this regard actually was handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1959. The case of Brown vs. Board of Education brought an end to the concept of “separate but equal”, which guided educational systems across the United States.

Although the Brown case was handed down by the Supreme Court many years ago, there remain issues that still arise when it comes to making sure that minority students have an appropriate access to educational opportunities in the country. For example, many school districts became embroiled in cases involving the busing of students to achieve racial equality when it came to educational systems, only in recent times have attendant issues been resolved.

Some of the newer issues and cases involving race, sex and related issues and education law have centered on access to scholarships and other educational financing opportunities. There are still cases that arise in which a contention is made that certain financing options are not fully available to all individuals.

Most recently, many of the cases involving education law issues have involved individuals with physical or other types of impairments. The goal in regard to these cases is to work to ensure that educational opportunities are made regularly and fully available to people no matter their physical status. (Related cases also center on individuals who have some sort of intellectual or mental health issue as well.)

Finally, another active area in education law in this day and age involves public school financing. First of all, there are cases that center upon working to ensure that all public school systems in a particular state are fairly funded. Second, there are cases and issues that focus upon the funding of private school educational experiences. Legislative leaders have also found themselves involved in developing new laws to attempt to deal with these two types of issues in more recent years – a trend that is expected to carry forth into the future.

There remain lawyers in business today who are specializing in education law. More often than not these attorneys are most frequently involved in ensuring that people have an even and equal access to appropriate and meaningful educational opportunities.

Special Education Laws

Special education refers to the education of children with physical disorders or disabilities, psychiatric disorders, emotional distress, behavioral disorders, and learning disorders. Traditional educational techniques or school programs do not sufficiently meet the requirements of these children. Children with special education needs are guaranteed rights to services in schools under federal and state laws. These laws include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA 1997), and No Child Left Behind (NCLB). These laws guarantee special education programs and financial assistance for disabled children and youth in the United States.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 is a federal law that governs all special education services for children in the United States. The major objective of IDEA is to provide free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The IDEA 2004 is a revision or reauthorization of IDEA 1997, which preserves the civil rights guarantees of IDEA 1997, but makes substantial changes regarding how schools determine whether a child has learning disability and needs special education services. Services to very young children, i.e., infants and toddlers, are also covered under the IDEA. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights legislative act, which proscribes discrimination against children with disabilities and provides them with reasonable accommodations. Under section 504, any person who has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity is considered disabled.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) commands all educational institutions to meet the needs of children with psychiatric problems. In the United States, procedures for the implementation of the Federal laws and procedural safeguards are different in different states and therefore parents should have a good knowledge of the rules and regulations in their particular area. For any assistance, parents can always contact the regional office of the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.