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Friday, April 17, 2020

Special Ed Administrators Back IDEA Waivers

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters.  And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all. Providing education is proving to be very difficult.

Corey Mitchell at Education Week:
The nation's leading special education administrator groups are pressing leaders in Congress to give schools flexibility on federal requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the nation's primary special education law.
The Council of Administrators of Special Education and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education are seeking waivers for timelines that govern when schools must review students' Individualized Education Programs, evaluate students for special education services, and respond to legal complaints.
The groups also want temporary reprieves from state monitoring and enforcement and the requirements that schools spend a "proportionate share" of their IDEA funding on services for private school students and provide services to students who need academic and behavioral support, but are not currently identified as needing special education services.
The requests put the groups in direct conflict with disability rights advocates who fear waivers will put students at risk of falling behind their educational goals. About 7 million children nationwide are served under IDEA.
Here's a look at the full letter:
CASE, NASDSE Letter to Cong... by corey_c_mitchell on Scribd

See the debate at Education Next:

Don’t Waive Rights, Require Districts To Make a Good Faith Effort By Robin J. Lake
Efforts already underway in public schools across the country show it isn’t necessary. Federal help on the special education front in response to the novel coronavirus is needed—but in the form of funding and information, not repeal of longstanding rights.

Waive Away—But Tackle the Big Longstanding Issues, not just the Immediate Technical Ones
By John M. McLaughlin
Should Secretary DeVos request that Congress allow such waivers? She should, but she shouldn’t stop there. The current crisis presents an opportunity to revitalize the law and reshape IDEA’s promise—and mandates—in ways better attuned to the times. DeVos can start by immediately addressing the technical issues that have schools out of compliance with the law. Here are four of the bigger compliance concerns for districts: