Should DeVos Ask Congress To Waive Parts of the Special Education Law amid the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The best cases for—and against—changing the rules.



By and 04/10/2020

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

The $2 trillion CARES Act gives Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos thirty days to propose provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that should be waived by Congress. Special education advocates have expressed concern, if not outright alarm, that waivers could gut important civil rights protections for students with disabilities. School districts, however, are worried about being held accountable for providing hands-on services during the pandemic that would be impossible without putting the health and safety of their staff at risk.

In this forum, Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at University of Washington Bothell, and John M. McLaughlin, managing partner of McLaughlin Advisors, debate whether DeVos should in fact propose any IDEA provisions to be waived, and if so, which ones, and why.

 

Photo of Robin J. LakeDon’t Waive Rights, Require Districts To Make a Good Faith Effort

By Robin J. Lake

 

 

 

 

Photo of John M. McLaughlinWaive Away—But Tackle the Big Longstanding Issues, not just the Immediate Technical Ones

By John M. McLaughlin

 

 

 

 




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