IDEA Rights May Be Waived by Congress as Part of COVID-19 Pending Stimulus Package!
As part of Congress’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proposed to include a provision in the pending stimulus bill that would give the Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory and/or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for 1 year (extensions may also apply). This jeopardizes all children’s rights to Child Find, a free appropriate public education (FAPE), Individualized Education Program (IEP), all procedural safeguards, re-evaluations, related services and accommodations and more. We cannot allow this to pass.
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While the COVID-19 outbreak has placed a tremendous and unprecedented strain on schools and districts, it is imperative that we work together to find solutions that allow children to receive equitable access to an education and the services that support them without undoing all of their civil and educational rights.I am writing as a concerned (parent/teacher/child advocate) to urge you to reject any provision that would provide waiver authority to the Secretary of Education regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Over 7 million children rely on IDEA to receive special education supports and services.
I hope you will help schools by providing states with additional funding that can be used to provide teachers and school leaders and families with the tools they need to connect to teach and support students. Schools can also be supported with funding to provide extended school year to students and other compensatory services.
Please support the students with disabilities and their families that rely upon the IDEA to have equitable access to an education.
March 19, 2020