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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Opposition to DeVos

Although the HELP Committee narrowly approved the DeVos nomination, opposition is mounting in the disability and civil rights communities.

I don’t have the time to go into more details, but she would be a major disaster for the disability community–obviously especially those still in school. Please look into this. If you decide, like I have, that she is not an education secretary who would benefit our kids, act. Call your representatives. Ask them to not approve her. It can make a difference. Here’s one example:

Keep Calling Your Representatives; It’s Working
 Thanks to over 1,000 phone calls from concerned constituents, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced she would not vote to confirm Betsy DeVos.
Search news sites for discussions of Betsy DeVos. Find your Senator’s phone number and call. Make your voice heard.
From the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights:
Betsy DeVos’ deference to state flexibility, even with regard to compliance with federal civil rights laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); her claim that demonstrating support for Title IX enforcement guidance would be “premature;” and her lack of support for accountability for all schools receiving federal funds only serve to reinforce our conclusion that her inadequate previous experience and missing record of support for students’ civil rights make her unfit to serve as Secretary of Education.
From the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates:
We are extremely concerned about Ms. DeVos's apparent lack of understanding of the IDEA, the federal law that guarantees a "free and appropriate public education" to children with disabilities. During her confirmation hearing Mrs. DeVos appeared to be unfamiliar with IDEA and the protections afforded to students with disabilities through the law, stating that she felt that enforcement of this federal law should be left up to the states. This is unacceptable and clearly indicates that Ms. DeVos is unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. It is essential that the Secretary of Education be knowledgeable and supportive of the federal laws that guide special education services.
A petition with over 350,000 signatures:
Ms. DeVos does not support the equal rights of students with disabilities to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education as outlined in IDEA. In fact, she has stated that she believes that the responsibility for the education of students with disabilities should be determined at the state level.

The impact of such an action would be profound and according to the National Center for Education Statistics would impact roughly 13 percent of the student population. The students receiving special education services are among the most vulnerable citizens of this country and are worthy of the same opportunities for receiving an education that every other American citizen has. Without the provisions outlined in IDEA, many of those students would be under-served or lose their opportunity for an education altogether.
We ask that you please act to protect the rights of students with disabilities and vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos.