8 Tactics School Districts Use to Prevent Parents From Winning Special Education Disputes!

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a learning disability receiving special education services? Are you new to the special education arena and would like to be educated on some tactics to look for? This article will be discussing 8 tactics used by some special education personnel, to prevent parents from being equal participants in their child’s education.Tactic 1: Intimidation, bullying and lying! Some special education personnel try very hard to be intimidating, so that parents will not fight for services for their children! Intimidation could be loud voices, threats, condescending to the parent, or making the parent feel inadequate or uncomfortable!Tactic 2: All of the above; but with a smile on their face! It absolutely gets me when a special education person opens their mouth and states something not truthful, when they are smiling! I wonder if they think that the lie will not be realized by the parent, due to their facial expressionsTactic 3: Quoting laws that do not exist, to make it seem like they have more power than they do! As an educational advocate and parent I have seen this many times myself. Example: Mrs. Jones the law allows us to not give services to children if we run out of money (not true)! Or Mrs. Jones the law says that we can suspend your child for as long as we want to due to their behavior (not true)!Tactic 4: I have heard from many parents that their special education personnel have actually changed educational records so that they could win a dispute with the parent! What I have seen is records added to a child’s file (that the parent did not know about) to document things that have happened. This is why it is critical that parents get copies of their child’s entire educational record (especially during a dispute) and keep it for future reference. If you end up in due process with your school district check all records that they are using to make sure that they match the records that you have!Tactic 5: Refusing to identify, and accept disabilities in a child that make them eligible for special education services. Many parents must get independent evaluations (at their own expense) to prove that their child actually has a disability, and is eligible for special education services!Tactic 6: Misinterpreting test data to show that the child does not need special education services! I have heard many special education personnel state that they do not believe low test scores and that the child does not need services because of their low test scores. This is untrue; whenever a standardized test shows that the child is below their age and grade appropriate peers in an area, the child should receive special education services so that they can make progress in their education.Tactic 7: Use delay or deny tactics. A lot of special education personnel try and delay the parents request for special education and related services. They may ignore parents request for testing for eligibility, or just use any tactic available to delay the request! When delay no longer works many personnel just say no; which is of course is denial! Stand up to these tactics by documenting all requests in writing!Tactic 8 (this happens to be my favorite): Exaggerate or make up discipline problems so that they can change the child’s label or placement! Some school districts want to put Emotionally Disordered or Behaviorally Disordered labels on children so that they can put them in alternative placements, and deny needed special education services.Parents need to keep the focus on the child’s academic and educational needs, and not give in to school districts focus on behavior only. If a child is struggling academically it may show in their behavior!By understanding these tactics you will be on your way to being an effective advocate for your child! They are depending on you!

Life Insurance 101 – Whole Life Vs Term Insurance

If you are even considering to buy life insurance do you have the hardest time when it comes to deciding on Whole Life vs Term Insurance?One life agent named Vicki Gunvalson (not affiliated with our organization) vaguely states…”The difference of term to permanent. I think that term is being sold to a lot of clients under age 40 where I try to talk more permanent coverages when over age 40 with more on the estate planning side where it is something they want to have for their beneficiary’s benefit when they are an age 100.So with term we could obviously only go 20 to 30 years but when we’re looking at 40-50 year olds I always talk to them about permanent coverage.”In contrast to what Vicki states we wholeheartedly, wholeheartedly believe that no one should purchase anything other than term life ins. When you have an agent trying to sell you Whole Life, Variable Life Insurance or Survivorship Life Insurance then be extra cautious with this life insurance agent because they may be looking at their own interest and financial gain rather than you and your loved one.Whole Life vs Term InsurancePermanent Insurance, which includes Whole Life, Universal Life, Variable Life and Survivorship Life insurance has a built in “Cash Value” but when you understand that the cash value really means nothing to your bottom line you will never think about purchasing any of the types of permanent ins.Cash Value is the “investment” portion of life ins that you can access through loans or withdrawals. The death benefit may be reduced with the withdrawals and there may be some charges which could affect your policy in the future.Also, you definitely do not want to have life coverage forever. If you understand how expensive continuously paying into a life policy can be you will definitely rethink this purchase. At age 100 the cost is $1000/month for every $1000 of coverage. So if you have a $500,000 policy it will cost you $500,000 per month at age 100. You only need it when you are younger and when you have dependents counting on you for your income. Outside of that temporary time period you do not need this coverage. Again, it is only for a temporary period of time.Insurance agents that tell you the benefits of cash value either don’t know how bad a permanent insurance policy is for you or they don’t but chances are they know how much commission they stand to make from selling one of these whole life policies to you and have chose that route instead of looking in you and your family’s best interest.What? Do you mean I get to invest with a life policy? Isn’t that wonderful? Yes, there is an investment portion to these permanent life policies but in reality the cash value is never really yours. It’s the insurance company’s money and they will allow you to borrow from it. They will tell you that you can borrow from it to pay for your children’s college expenses, medical expenses, emergencies or for retirement. But you must pay the funds back with interest to the life ins company.Borrow and pay back my own money with interest? Are you kidding? Isn’t the cash value my money?Sorry to tell you but it is not. Until you cancel the policy you are paying an enormous premium into an investment + life ins that you don’t have control over. It’s really the insurance company’s money. Also, the investments that they offer you are very limited and they make additional commissions off of the investments that you choose because those investments whether mutual funds or money market funds are held until the insurance company you purchase your policy from. You have a limited number of investment choices and they may not be the best funds to choose from either.If the life agent, after trying to push whole life / permanent insurance onto you then switches to term insurance and tries to sell you that type of life ins just leave the office. Do not deal with them any longer. They tried to push an insurance product onto you that was not in your best interest and now have to resort to selling you a lower commission product.Term Insurance and Savings You Will HaveTerm Insurance is pure insurance without the investment portion. The amount of money that you save purchasing a low cost term life policy is huge compared to buying a whole life policy. NOW take those savings and put it into any investment (mutual funds, stocks, bonds, money market) of your choice.YOU CHOOSE what investment you want for yourself OUTSIDE of the life company. KEEP YOUR INVESTMENT AS FAR AS YOU CAN AWAY FROM ANY INSURANCE COMPANY.You control it. You manage it and make withdrawals whenever you please without “borrowing” from it as you would from a Whole Life Policy / Permanent type policy.So forget Cash Value! It’s a shallow way for the life insurance company to try to get you to give them a larger amount of commission. Be careful when dealing certain agents as they may try to convince you that you are buying term and later tell you that you can add a savings plan or investment portion with the term policy. Best rule of thumb is to keep any type of investment away from your policy. Have FULL CONTROL of your money when you separate your life insurance and your investments.Whole Life Insurance vs Term InsuranceOther phrases they may try to use:
Whole Term Life Ins
Whole Term Ins
Permanent Term Life Ins
Term Life Insurance Cash Value (Just another phrase to get you to purchase whole life)
Variable Term Life Ins (Another phrase to get you to purchase whole life)We fully support Suze Orman’s stance on Life Coverage. She tells it like it is without any fluff when looking at Term Insurance vs Whole Life Ins.

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The CCD Edge

George Smith and Willard Boyle, while working at Bell Labs, invented the Charged Coupled Device (CCD) in 1969. This invention has revolutionized photography. In fact, CCD-based cameras are quickly replacing film-based cameras. This article describes the advantages of CCD-based cameras for astronomical imaging.Today, the CCD-based camera is the imaging tool of choice at professional observatories. Because today’s CCD cameras are affordable, even amateurs can now purchase and use them. In fact, the amateur today, with modest equipment, can routinely image objects which were once photographed only in professional observatories equipped with huge and expensive telescopes.The CCD camera has enabled the amateur astronomer to capture esthetically-pleasing images of faint galaxies, nebula, star clusters, and other distant celestial objects. More important, amateurs are now making significant scientific contributions with their CCD-based imaging systems. All of this is possible because the CCD detector, which is the core of the CCD camera, has many advantages over other types of light detectors.The CCD detector has many advantages that give the CCD imager an edge when capturing images of distant, faint astronomical objects. The major advantages of CCD-based cameras are their light gathering efficiency, linear behavior, cooled operation, digital images, and immediate image availability.The CCD detector is a highly-efficient collector of photons. Quantum efficiency (QE) is the measure of a detector’s efficiency in detecting photons. More specifically, QE is the percentage of photons that are converted into a usable signal. Whereas the naked eye and emulsion film have a QE of about 1%, today’s CCD detectors have a QE of 50-85% in the visible spectrum and have a much broader spectral response than other digital or video cameras. The CCD detector’s high QE makes it possible to image an object with shorter exposures than required when using a film camera. There is less time for problems with the imaging system to degrade the final image if shorter exposures are used.The linear characteristic of the CCD detector makes it the tool of choice for scientific imaging. The signal collected is proportional to the luminosity of the imaged objects. For scientific research, this predictability is important. For example, linearity is critical to the science of photometry. Photometry is the science of determining an object’s brightness. The CCD camera is widely used by both professionals and amateurs for photometry. In fact, the availability and affordability of today’s CCD cameras have enabled amateurs, with modest equipment, to do serious scientific research and to make their own discoveries. The linear characteristic of the CCD detector also makes it possible to remove much of the image noise.Modern, cooled, CCD cameras do more than make it possible to remove noise. Their cooled operation directly reduces a major contributor to noise: thermal electrons. Cooling the CCD detector makes it possible to take longer images before the pixels become saturated. When CCD pixels become saturated, the excess electrons can spill into adjacent pixels causing extended bright spots in the image. This is called blooming. Cooling the detector helps to eliminate this problem by reducing the accumulation of thermal electrons. Since digital and video cameras are not cooled, noise caused by thermal electrons can seriously compromise image quality as the exposure time increases. They are not, therefore, as desirable for imaging faint objects as is the cooled CCD camera.We live in the digital age, and the CCD camera is a tool for the times. Coupled with a personal computer, the CCD camera is a natural for astronomical imaging. Because the CCD camera produces a digital image, the images are immediately available for display, processing, or analysis. If the image is not of the desired quality, another can be taken at once. Moreover, feedback from short images can aid the imager in finding, framing, and focusing astronomical objects. In view of all of the advantages of the CCD detector and of the CCD-based camera, it is no surprise that the CCD camera has revolutionized imaging the sky. Both professional and amateur astronomers now use this tool at their telescopes. For the amateur, obtaining images of faint and distant objects–without the use of huge and expensive telescopes–is now possible. Discoveries of new objects, such as supernova, comets, and asteroids are not unusual among amateur astronomers, thanks to the CCD camera. Sky & Telescope and Astronomy routinely publish spectacular CCD images that would not have been possible a few years ago. The CCD-based camera is not only the professional’s edge; it’s the amateur’s edge, too.Copyright © 2007 at Select DigitalsThe CCD Edge, February 1, 2007