Dear Friends of Students with Disabilities,
The covid-19 "Package 3" bill now being developed in DC has a number of good things. But a preliminary Senate Republican version of that bill also had a very bad thing. It would have allowed protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be waived. (Apparently school districts were complaining about how difficult it would be to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities during the crisis--i guess districts thought that only students without disabilities should have the right to a public education.)
The good news: Disability advocates successfully pushed back against the proposal to immediately "waive" IDEA. That terrible idea is no longer in the bill.
The bad news: The Senate Republican version of the bill still directs Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to report to Congress within 30 days recommendations to waive parts of IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These are the federal laws that guarantee a "free appropriate public education"!
Please contact Sen Collins and Sen King to ask them not to support any changes to IDEA or any changes to the Rehabilitation Act. Students with disabilities should have the same right to an education as students without disabilities. During the covid crisis, students with disabilities are already impacted at least as much as students without disabilities.
Please suggest that, instead of reducing the right of students with disabilities, federal law should give more support (including $$$) to schools in order to help them meet the needs of students with disabilities.