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As a constituent and concerned member of the Learning Disabilities Association of America, I urge you to reject the provision included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that directs Secretary DeVos to provide a report on waivers needed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Over 7 million children, including more than 2 million with specific learning disabilities, rely on IDEA and Section 504 to receive necessary special education support and services.
Such a report would provide the basis for the Secretary to recommend any number of waivers that could upend key civil rights protections for vulnerable children.
I also oppose granting Secretary DeVos broad waiver authority under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act because sufficient flexibility is built into the law to allow for state waivers.
Finally, I support providing states with additional funding that can be used under the IDEA to:
This is not the time to abandon children through waivers, which allow schools and districts to abdicate their responsibilities to students. We must help schools and families to work together to find solutions that allow children to receive equitable access to an education and the services they need without weakening or undoing their civil and educational rights.
The children most impacted by school closures and such proposed waivers are those who are most in need of federal protections, including children with disabilities who are at great risk of regression during this time. I urge you to provide states with additional funding that can be used to support students with disabilities to learn online or through other modalities, and fund other services.
Thank you for opposing this provision and supporting students with disabilities and others who rely on federal civil rights laws for equitable access to education.