Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray want answers after a vital educational rights resource for disabled students and their families vanished after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took office.
The website for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has disappeared and now redirects to a website that provides inadequate information, and the Senators from Washington want to know why.
In a statement, Cantwell and Murray said, “The Department’s failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators, and administrators to find the resources they need to implement this federal law and protect the rights of children with disabilities. The website has provided accessible and informative summaries of the law, training materials, sample educational forms, presentations for the public, and so many other user-friendly resources.”
The website was created by former President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. It served as a one-stop resource for parents and students to know their rights and protections under federal law. The website was a valuable asset to parents who have to navigate the often confusing and frustrating world of getting aid assistance for a special needs child.
DeVos’s troubling answer at her confirmation hearing about how educational rights for students with disabilities should be left up the states was the first alarm bell to signal the Trump administration’s intention to roll back federal protections for people with disabilities. The removal of the website was a second concrete step that is cause for concern among every disabled student and their family members.
In 2000, now Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued in a Senate floor speech that giving disabled children federal protections in the education system was what was causing public education fail. Sessions was arguing against the IDEA act, and DeVos thinks that those protections should be handled by the states.
It is clear that the Trump White House is gearing up to take away federal education protections from disabled children.
The Trump administration is going to gut federal protections from discrimination across the board, and this clearly includes members of the differently abled community.
As a candidate, Trump’s mocking of a reporter with a disability revealed his contempt for the one-quarter of Americans who are differently abled. As president, the Trump administration is translating their contempt into policies that enable discrimination against disabled children.
Nothing is safe. Not even the right for children with disabilities to a free public education.