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Selected Media Coverage: April 20, 2006

College of Business and Economics Lands In BusinessWeek's Top 25
04/20/2006 - BusinessWeek (cir. 985,516)

Lehigh "extremely hot" choice right now
04/19/2006 - Chris Matthews Show, The (cir. )

We'll tell you what they're doing here at Lehigh University, the
04/18/2006 - WCAU-TV (cir. )

Engineers Work on Quake-Proof Buildings
04/18/2006 - ABC Television Network (cir. )

Lehigh's ATLSS Research Center on WTFX-TV
04/17/2006 - Ten O'Clock News - WTXF-TV (cir. )

Lehigh stocks contest imparts lessons
04/13/2006 - Investment News (cir. 59,404)

Advocacy for Parents Key to IDEA Case
04/12/2006 - Education Week (cir. 51,186)


College of Business and Economics Lands In BusinessWeek's Top 25
04/20/2006 - BusinessWeek (cir. 985,516)



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Which undergraduate business program do you think is tops in the nation? On Apr. 27, BusinessWeek will release its first ranking of the top 50 undergraduate business programs. Culled, in part, from surveys of more than 22,000 business majors, our ranking of top programs will be the most comprehensive one undertaken. It will include information on starting salaries, which schools send the most students on to top MBA programs, and several measures of academic quality, including faculty-student ratios and average SAT scores.

But none of that will be revealed until 5 p.m. on Apr. 27 during a live chat on our site. In the meantime, you have a chance to tell us which undergraduate business program is tops in your book. To the right, you'll find an alphabetical list of the 25 schools that made it into the top half of our ranking (see below for link). Vote by clicking on the school that you think is No. 1. If your favorite isn't listed, type in a nomination. Votes will be tallied instantly. Write-in candidates will be added in one week when you will get a chance to vote one last time before the official list is announced.

We know that choosing a business school is one of the most important decisions of your life. At college, you get your first taste of independence, start your career, and make lifelong friends. So we'll profile your five favorite picks over the coming weeks in our new Undergraduate Programs sub-channel that will go live with the ranking. What you'll also find in this new area are over 80 searchable profiles of undergraduate business programs, virtual school tours, assessment tests, Q&As with top admissions directors and recruiters, and more. Come back and visit us daily for the latest news and tips on getting into the top business programs.

[NOTE: Lehigh University is included among the Top 25 undergraduate business schools in the nation by BusinessWeek Magazine. Official rankings will be released on Thursday, April 27 at 5:00 during a live chat on BusinessWeek's Web site at http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/school_spirit/index.html. You can visit the site today to see the Top 25 finalists, listed in alphabetical order.]


Lehigh "extremely hot" choice right now
04/19/2006 - Chris Matthews Show, The (cir. )



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CHRIS MATTHEWS [Transcript]: Under pressure, the thick envelopes and skinny rejection letters have arrived in the mail delighting high school seniors and crushing others. This year was one of the toughest yet. Take a look at this chart. This year, Yale admitted nine out of 100 strong applicants. That's down from 19 twelve years ago. UCLA admitted 27%. Down from 50%. University of Texas at Austin, another top school, admits 48% of applicants now. Back then, Texas admitted two thirds of the applicants. And there is extremely hot Lehigh right now. This year they took 39%. It was 64%. You're seeing a ripple effect as well with admissions getting tougher at what used to be called the safety schools. David [Brooks], you love to figure this out. Why is it getting so darn tough to get into the school you want to get into? Kids are applying for 20 schools. And the long-term answer is that we've made society more fair. And when we make it more fair it becomes more competitive. When you allow women, people of color, into these schools, you get a lot of smart kids entering the market. And parents begin responding.

[NOTE: You can view the broadcast segment at http://media.vmsnews.com/MR.pl?id=041806-549440-B000596230. Copy and paste the link into your INTERNET EXPLORER browser, then click on the Quickview box adjacent to the third segment description.]


We'll tell you what they're doing here at Lehigh University, the
04/18/2006 - WCAU-TV (cir. )



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WCAU-TV - News 10 Today
On the 100th anniversary of the great earthquake that hit San Francisco, engineers are talking about prevention. NBC10's Byron Scott is home at Lehigh University...

"That earthquake struck in 1906 at 5:12 in the morning, that earthquake damaged tens of thousands of buildings...Here's that video of film of that earthquake in 1906 from that morning. As we said, there's some research going on on the east coast. There are quickly some facts here between 7.7 and 7.9 on the richter scale. Now, Lehigh University once again is doing some research with how to construct buildings that will be able to withstand another earthquake of that magnitude. Much of the work being done here, one of the largest labs in the country. Very recently we're told...that the engineers subjected a building frame to 50% more of the force than hit San Francisco and that building did receive just minimal damage. Now, once again, a big conference is happening in San Francisco. That begins today. They hope to bring the technology to the commercial market they say in about 10 years. Live from Lehigh University campus, Byron Scott.


Engineers Work on Quake-Proof Buildings
04/18/2006 - ABC Television Network (cir. )



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BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Sometime in the not-so-distant future, newly constructed buildings will be able to withstand earthquakes of the magnitude that destroyed San Francisco one century ago, scientists say.

Working with super-strong materials that can bend, stretch and compress without breaking, engineers say they are working toward the day when buildinled to the slaughter if you don't take the time to learn these things," she says at the end of two hours.

During Ms. Arons' decades of advocacy with the organization she founded in 1977, she has earned fierce support from parents who say she is one of the main reasons they have been able to successfully fight unresponsive school districts in New Jersey, New York, and Delaware on behalf of their children with disabilities. Ms. Arons and the guidance gleaned from the not-for-profit Parent Information Center help level the playing field, the parents say.

Ms. Arons, a former 1993 independent candidate for New Jersey governor, has also been at the center of several other notable legal challenges, including a Delaware Supreme Court case in which she was accused of the unauthorized practice of law. Now, only lawyers are allowed to represent parents in due-process hearings for special education in that state.

Ms. Arons' work is about to about to take on national significance. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case April 19 in which it will decide whether a school district must reimburse parents for the fees of experts when the parents prevail in legal disputes with districts over their children's individualized education programs.

The fees could cover expert witnesses, such as a speech pathologist or clinical psychologist, or, as in this case, a nonlawyer who helped guide parents through the thicket of a special education due-process hearing.

"A Significant Figure"
The case, which began in 1997, involves New York state's Arlington Central district of more than 10,000 students, which includes part of the town of Poughkeepsie and eight other towns in the Hudson Valley. Pearl and Theodore Murphy battled the district over the IEP for their son Joseph, now 22, who has multiple learning disabilities. The Murphys successfully argued that the district should pay for his private school tuition. During the due-process proceedings, the parents relied on the expertise of Ms. Arons.

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act allows parents to recoup 'reasonable attorneys' fees as part of the costs" if they prevail in an IEP due-process hearing. A federal district judge sliced the Murphys request for reimbursement for Ms. Arons' services from $29,350 to $8,650, saying that she should only be paid from the time the Murphys requested a due-process hearing until the date that the court ruled in the family's favor in the tuition dispute.

In a ruling last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, affirmed the district judge's award of expert consulting fees.

In the district's appeal in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy (Case No. 05-18), the district argues that the federal special education law does not authorize the award of fees for experts, because the law makes no explicit reference to them. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the district.

Lawyers for the Murphys say that the special education law, which states that attorneys fees may be awarded to parents as "part" of the costs of the dispute, showed Congress' intent that attorneys' fees not be the only possible costs awarded. They add that it is nearly impossible for parents to win cases under the IDEA unless they have such experts on their side, and that only the possibility of getting back some of their expenses for such help would allow parents to challenge school districts.

No solid figures are available on how many parents choose to represent themselves in due-process hearings, compared with how many are represented by lawyers or lay advocates, said Perry A. Zirkel, a professor of education law at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. He is also a state hearing officer in Pennsylvania for special education disputes.

The availability of lawyers, and of lay advocates, varies tremendously from state to state, and even within states, where experts in special education law are often concentrated in metropolitan areas, Mr. Zirkel said.

The Parent Grapevine
What is clear is that once someone becomes known as an advocate for parents and children in special education cases, the parent grapevine spreads the name near and far.

That's how Ms. Arons got started. A graduate of Alma College in Alma, Mich., with a degree in music education, Ms. Arons was a high school English teacher when her daughter, Melody Arons, was born in 1968 with severe learning disabilities. Doctors told her that Melody should be institutionalized, but Ms. Arons fought for an education for her daughter while the IDEA was still in its infancy.

In 1975, Ms. Arons, her husband, Raymond, a professor of public health at Columbia University in New York City, and Melody moved to Teaneck, N.J. Ms. Arons became a private music teacher, and her son Jonathan, was born there.

Soon after the move, Ms. Arons founded the Parent Information Center of New Jersey as a resource for families. The center has never received government funding because that would require it to conform to someone else's agenda, she said. The center was first located only in Teaneck, and the southern New Jersey office here in Palmyra opened in 1995.

Most of the funding for the center and its advocates comes from membership fees of $75 a year from the 100 to 125 dues-paying families, said Maura A. Collinsgru, the center's executive director, as well as from fees for individual consultations with parents who request such services.

A very small percentage of the funding comes through fees for consultation services provided to parents who prevail in due-process hearings, the types of payments that are at the center of the Supreme Court case, Ms. Collinsgru said.

Ms. Arons no longer has a day-to-day role in running the center, and has not taken on a case representing parents since about 1999, she said. Her work now is primarily with the Melody Arons Center for Applied Preschool Research and Education, in her home in Teaneck.

It is named for her daughter, who eventually graduated from high school, lived independently, and was working as a bank clerk when she was killed in 1997 at age 29 by her ex-boyfriend, who then took his own life.

˜Tough Love Philosophy"
Ms. Arons still runs periodic parent-support group meetings to ensure that the tenets of the organization she founded are followed. During her active years at the center, she participated in 300 due-process hearings, she estimates, and helped parents in many thousands more cases.

If she seems a little tough on parents, it's not for lack of sympathy, Ms. Arons said.

We'll hug and kiss in this organization, a lot. But I'll swat you on the ass and tell you to get your act together [too]. It's a tough-love philosophy," she said.

Jeffrey J. Schiro, a Bedford Village, N.Y., lawyer who has represented the Arlington Central district in the case, is not sure that lay advocates like Ms. Arons are really necessary, at least in his region of the country.

Mr. Schiro described Ms. Arons as a prepared and capable representative for the Murphys. But the states of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware “are not known for having a shortage of attorneys," he said. In his eight years of representing school districts in special education disputes, Mr. Schiro said, he has found it is the rare parent who is not represented by a lawyer. There are also resources available for low- and moderate-income parents, he said.

A lack of adequate representation for parents is an argument that "may resonate in other areas of the country," he said, "but it doesn't have the same resonance here."

But Ms. Arons' work can be wider-ranging than that of an expert who is brought in to examine a child and provide an assessment. The Parent Information Center offers services to families who would not otherwise be able to afford lawyers, who in the Northeast may charge $300 to $400 an hour or more for their services.

"One of the reasons our model has never been accepted by anybody, except by the people who need us, is because we take care of the poor," Ms. Arons said.

Discipline in Delaware
In some cases, that advocacy work has caused consternation among lawyers. In 1996, several Delaware school district lawyers charged Ms. Arons and Ruth Watson, then the director of the center, with the unauthorized practice of law for representing five families in the state in due-process hearings.

When the case reached the Delaware Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of Justice, under President Clinton, filed a brief on Ms. Arons' side, arguing that the IDEA entitles "lay persons with special knowledge or training" to advocate for parents in such hearings. The Justice Department said it was the long-held view of the U.S. Department of Education that lay advocates could represent parents in due-process hearings.

The Delaware high court rejected the federal government's view, ruling in 2000 that the IDEA "cannot be interpreted as providing any clear right to lay representation." Ms. Arons and the center were ordered to cease representing parents in the state.

The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear it.

Ms. Arons said she has a lot that she could say about the pending Supreme Court case, but she feels she must refrain on advice from lawyers.

Meanwhile, she said, she is still actively working on behalf of children with disabilities, even though she no longer runs the Parent Information Center. The Murphy case was one of the last she handled as an advocate. Now, she focuses on training other parents to take up the mantle.

"The only way you'll ever have an impact on the system is that parents have to train to be professionals," she said.

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006

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