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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Education Officials Seek 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.

Evie Blad at Education Week:
A coalition of education organizations wants Congress to waive a provision in federal law that requires school districts to maintain consistent funding levels for special education from year to year.
That local "maintenance of effort" provision, part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, will present particular challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools confront unprecedented challenges and ballooning budget shortfalls, the groups said in a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday.
As schools rushed to close in response to the virus, many were forced to reorganize staff and resources to educate students remotely, the organizations wrote, and they will continue to do so as they re-open buildings under new protocols designed to limit transmission. As schools rush to reorient their budgets, they fear penalties, the groups said.
They asked Congress to include a waiver from the requirement in its next coronavirus relief package.
"Unfortunately, the maintenance of effort requirements in IDEA do not have a pandemic exception," says the letter. "Specifically, the IDEA local maintenance of effort requirements do not allow districts to adjust their special education funding that they had previously, and in good-faith, dedicated to special education efforts."
The letter was signed by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the Association of School Business Officials International, Council of Administrators of Special Education, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National School Boards Association.