Saturday, January 28, 2017

The telling letter Betsy DeVos wrote to clarify her position on U.S. disabilities law - The Washington Post

The telling letter Betsy DeVos wrote to clarify her position on U.S. disabilities law - The Washington Post:

The telling letter Betsy DeVos wrote to clarify her position on U.S. disabilities law


Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire President Trump nominated to be education secretary, wrote a letter to a senator about the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. What she said in that letter is very telling about her education priorities.
DeVos wrote the letter to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, after a Jan. 17 confirmation hearing in which DeVos revealed a lack of understanding of basic education issues, including IDEA.
A strong supporter of school choice, DeVos is perhaps the most controversial of Trump’s Cabinet picks. Supporters say she wants to provide new educational opportunities for students and DeVos has said she wants to support all education options, including traditional public schools. Critics, however say that her years-long advocacy for charter schools and vouchers is really part of a movement to privatize public education. Some groups representing Americans with disabilities have come out against her nomination, saying she is no friend of students with disabilities.
IDEA requires public schools to provide free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities. During the hearing, DeVos said that states should have the right to decide on IDEA enforcement, suggesting she didn’t realize it was a federal law that required states to follow its mandates.
When Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) quizzed her about implementation of IDEA, she said, “I think that’s an issue that’s best left to the states.” Later, when Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) told her that IDEA is a federal civil rights law and asked DeVos if she stood by her statement that it was up to the states to follow it, DeVos responded, “Federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play.” Hassan then asked, “So were you unaware when I just asked you about the IDEA that it was a federal law?” DeVos responded, “I may have confused it.”
Days later, DeVos wrote a letter to Isakson trying to explain her position on IDEA. The letter raises new questions about her priorities.
DeVos wrote in the letter (see text below) that she understands IDEA is a federal law and that she is “eager to bring a sense of urgency” to enforcing it. She said she wants schools to strengthen student IEPs, which are Individual Education Programs that spell out special education learning goals and needed services/accommodations.
She then said she wants to provide students with disabilities more educational opportunities — and praised a voucher program that helps students with disabilities attend private school The telling letter Betsy DeVos wrote to clarify her position on U.S. disabilities law - The Washington Post:


Latest News and Comment from Education

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers