Do you have a child with a disability who is receiving special education services?Are you frustrated because it is hard to get needed educational services, for your child? Would you like a few parenting tips, to help you make sure that special education personnel follow IDEA? This article will discuss 4 parenting tips, that will help you in enforcing, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).IDEA enforcement by law is to be the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which is part of the Department of Education. They are responsible in making sure that states, are in compliance with special education law. States are responsible for making sure that individual school districts comply with IDEA.The reality is that parents are the main enforcement mechanism of special education law. Below are 4 tips to help you ensure that your school district is complying with IDEA, for the benefit of your child.1. Develop a working knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. By doing this, you will know where to look when you need a particular section of the law. For Example: If you would like to look at what is required for a free appropriate public education (FAPE), you would look under 300.101. Or Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) at 300.115.2. Develop a working knowledge of your state regulations on special education (This is how the state is going to comply with IDEA). Some states regulations are actually better for children and parents, than federal law. By understanding these, you will be able to use them to ensure that your school district is complying with the educational law. You can get a copy of your state regulations from your state board of education.3. Bring copies of the laws with you to any IEP meeting for your child, and place them on the table. You will be able to look up certain sections during the meeting, in case you need them.By bringing up the special education laws that apply, you will make sure that you school district is following them. You also want to make sure, that the special education personnel in your district understand that you know the laws, and that you will be making sure that they follow them.Also, when you write letters to school personnel, always quote IDEA or the state regulations, for special education when you can. This will help bolster your case, for whatever you are asking for.For example: IDEA states, that my child has the right to a free appropriate public education, which I believe that she is not receiving at this time. In order for my child with a learning disability to receive FAPE, she must receive the appropriate amount of reading remediation, using simultaneous-multi sensory reading program such as Orton-Gillingham.4. If your school district is in non compliance with the procedures of IDEA, consider filing a state complaint. The state complaint is filed with your state board of education; special education department.The complaint should state the violation, the number in IDEA that is being violated, what your evidence is of the violation, and also the proposed resolution of the violation. Also, you can put more than one violation in a complaint, but number them for easier reading and tracking.By doing these four things, you will be able to understand when special education personnel are not following special education law. It is sad that parents are the main enforcement arm of IDEA, but it is reality! Good luck, and stay focused, for the benefit of your child!
If you are looking to further your education and are attached to the military in any way, make sure you take full advantage of your military education benefits, specifically the GI Bill. Don’t let it go to waste. Here are some of the basics of what you should know about your military education benefits and what they can do for you.Military education benefits you may be eligible for include:
The Post-9/11 GI Bill (New)
The Montgomery GI Bill (Traditional)
The Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP)
What exactly is the GI Bill?The GI Bill is actually a variety if bills in place to help active military, veterans and their family members pay for a higher level of education. This involves financial assistance for education-related expenses such as tuition, books, supplies and housing allowances.David MunÃµz from Colorado Springs, former Senior Airman/E4 of the United States Air Force, has this to say about the Post 9/11 GI Bill that he is currently using to pay for a 2 year educational program:”The Government pays my school directly for my tuition and fees, sends me a $500 stipend every semester for books, and gives me a monthly living allowance based on my zip code. All of this allows me to attend school full-time and focus on studies without having to work a full-time job. It’s working out great for me.”Top 5 Benefits of the GI Bill
The money is totally non-taxable.
It works for a variety of educational program types.
There is usually enough money to cover all educational expenses, and depending on the program, living expenses as well.
With the added funds for living, you may be able to go to school full time and not have to work on the side, allowing you to focus on your studies and finish faster.
It’s good for 10 years after you leave the service and will likely cover your entire educational experience.
What can these benefits be used for?
Vocational or occupational training
How do I apply for the GI Bill?You can apply for the GI Bill with the Department of Veterans Affairs by filling out a simple form.When and how do I use my benefits?You can begin using your military benefits after two years of service. Although you can use your educational benefits as an active duty service member, it is advised that you wait until after you have completed your service to get the most out of it.Who do I contact for more information about military education benefits?
The Department of Veterans Affairs
Your commanding officer
A financial advisor at your chosen college campus
1 – The Post-9/11 GI BillThe US Department of Veteran Affairs describes the Post-9/11 GI Bill as “financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.”If this applies to you, check out this list of approved training opportunities and find something that fits your lifestyle. Career-focused training programs are a great way to get started.Approved Training for Post-9/11 GI Bill
Graduate and undergraduate degrees
Vocational, technical trades, or career training
On-the-job training, flight training
Licensing and national testing programs
What might be a little confusing is that they also say training and apprenticeships are not covered under this bill, but are due to be added as of October 1, 2011, along with many other benefits covered under the MGI Bill that were left out of the new bill.2 – The Montgomery GI BillThe US Department of Veteran Affairs describes the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) as “available for those who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. Under Chapter 30, Active Duty members enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months; and are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once they have completed a minimum service obligation. Under Chapter 1606, a reservist must be actively drilling and have a 6-year obligation in the Selected Reserve to be eligible.”This bill will apply to the majority of military seeking financial assistance for education. It can be used for a variety of educational programs ranging from graduate to vocational studies.3 – The Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP)The US Department of Veterans Affairs explains REAP as a program that “provides educational assistance to members of National Guard and reserve components – Selected Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) – who are called or ordered to active duty service in response to a war or national emergency as declared by the President or Congress.”Eligibility depends on active duty served on or after Sept.11, 2001. If you have served at least 90 consecutive days or an accumulated total of three or more years, you may be eligible for these benefits. Eligibility based on continuous service constitutes payments based on the number of continuous days served, while eligibility based on active duty service accumulation of three or more years constitutes the full allowable payment.If you are a reservist in any branch of the military, make sure to look into these benefits and take advantage of what you are eligible for; you won’t regret it.Approved Training for REAP
Undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate courses
State licensure and certification courses
Courses for a certificate or diploma from business, technical or vocational schools
Apprenticeship or on-the-job training
Independent study programs
Remedial, deficiency, or refresher courses needed to complete a program of study
Preparatory courses for tests required or used for admission to an institution of higher learning or graduate school
Contact your local College or Technical School to find out how to use your military benefits and get your education today.Sources
United States Department of Veterans Affairs: GI Bill, http://www.gibill.va.gov