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IDEA at 35:
What Advocates Need to Know and Do

Conducted December 1, 2010

Dr. Kurt E. Hulett
Author, Legal Aspects of Special Education

KurtAt the time of this presentation Dr. Kurt E. Hulett was serving as the Senior Director of Research and Business Development for Pearson Education’s Assessment for Learning division. He is also currently serving as a legal author, specializing in special education litigation and legislation, for Prentice Hall Publishing. Kurt published his most recent text in 2009, Legal Aspects of Special Education.

In his role as head of Research and Business Development, Kurt leads Pearson’s Assessment for Learning business in a number of areas. Through a broad lens, he provides leadership and guidance in relation to current and next generation assessments for both the US and international markets -- including the design, functionality, modularity, reporting, data, and user-interface of K-12 assessments. Kurt serves as a member of the executive leadership team and thrives on collaborative decision-making, innovation, dynamic teamwork, and most important, developing assessments that help educators make well-informed, data-driven decisions about children.

Prior to his current position, Kurt served as Senior Research Director in Pearson’s Clinical Assessment division. In this capacity, Kurt was responsible for the development of all research, content, and assessments developed for the AIMSweb system – Pearson’s leading RTI and formative assessment system. AIMSweb utilizes curriculum-based measurement in order to universally screen and progress monitor student performance. Kurt lead the development and conceptualization of new assessments, new scoring approaches, performed psychometric analyses, field testing, and technical adequacy submissions to organizations such as the National Center for Response to Intervention (NCRTI). During Kurt’s tenure, AIMSweb received the highest technical adequacy ratings in the industry by the NCRTI. In addition, Kurt was the primary author on multiple, new assessments.

Prior to working in the assessment industry, Kurt served at every level of the public education system. He served as a high school special education teacher, middle school assistant principal, middle school principal, district policy officer for special education, and served in the Virginia Secretary of Education’s office. Kurt’s most rewarding, challenging, and invigorating professional work has primarily taken place inside the walls of public school buildings. He hopes to return to the schools in the future in order to, as he says, “do the most important and challenging work possible, side-by-side professional educators and with children, day in and day out. There is nothing more gratifying than working with children everyday.”

Kurt is a lifelong advocate for children with disabilities and has worked diligently on their behalf in every position he has held, both personally and professionally. He attributes his greatest education in all aspects of advocacy to his mentor and close friend, Joe Ballard – longtime Director of Policy and Government Relations for CEC and one of the original architects of IDEA. Joe took Kurt under his wing and contributed significantly to Kurt’s 2009 text, Legal Aspects of Special Education.

Kurt has worked with a wide spectrum of advocacy groups, including a few of the more notable: The ARC, Special Olympics, the United Way, Easter Seals, CEC, and the MDA. He has served in myriad roles with these organizations including: camp counselor, event volunteer, policy intern, and board member. Every career decision Kurt has made has been predicated on the hopes of finding new avenues to advocate for children with disabilities. He is married to his wife of 12 years, Jennings Sheffield, and is the proud father of two young boys, Kael and Gaige. Kurt and his family reside in San Antonio, Texas.

Kurt received his doctoral (2002) and master’s (1998) degrees from the University of Virginia. He earned his bachelor of science (1996) degree from James Madison University.

Webinar Archive and Materials

Webinar Archive: This is the recording of the live Webinar (audio and visuals) conducted on December 1, 2010. The recording is 1 hr, 40 minutes in length. You can start, stop, pause, fast forward or rewind the recording using the controls on the ReadyTalk player. (Note: Playing the archive requires Adobe's free FLASH Player to be activated.)

Webinar Archive MP3: This is the MP3 audio file of the live Webinar presentation (1 hr, 40 minutes).

Webinar PowerPoint Presentation Handout: This is the Handout for the Webinar presentation on IDEA at 35: What Advocates Need to Know and Do (PDF, 7 pgs.).


Legal Aspects of Special Education*, Chapter 3: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PDF, 19 pgs.) (reprinted with permission, Pearson)

The Advocacy Institute, Special Education Legislative History (PDF, 2 pgs.)


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