Ok, I’m going to get wonky on you. But I know that as a disability rights advocate you understand that the lives of people with disabilities can sometimes be dramatically impacted by even the smallest actions taken in any government agency.
And that is exactly what is about to happen.
President Trump’s billionaire Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, wants to decimate the regulations that ensure students with disabilities have access to the same opportunities to get an education and find employment as every other kid.
Right now officials at the Department of Education (ED) are looking for ways to weaken 154 regulations, including:
· Regulations affecting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that address the misidentification, over-representation and under-representation of students in special education on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender.
· Competitive Integrated Employment in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which helps people with disabilities find jobs in the community that pay decent wages so they can support themselves.
· The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which has critical protections for students with disabilities and guarantees equal opportunities in the classroom.
· Pre-Employment Transition Services in WIOA that help recent graduates with disabilities prepare for jobs and get work experience.
We need you to send comments to the Department of Education by September 20th telling them not to mess with any regulations or guidance that ensure these laws work as intended.
Many of the regulations ED is looking to weaken or repeal went through an extensive review and approval process. An exhaustive assessment of their impact was conducted and input from experts and citizens from all over the country was collected. It makes no sense to re-visit these regulations now and sets a terrible precedent.
To make it easy for you, we have written a number of comments you can cut and paste into the Department of Education’s web form. Take a look…
Federal regulations and non-regulatory guidance help states and school districts fully implement the laws, such as the IDEA, ESSA, and WIOA, which are critical to ensuring students with disabilities have the same opportunities as every other kid. Stakeholders rely on these authorities to assist them in understanding and complying with the statutes. As such, none should be modified or rescinded by the Administration.
As a citizen I firmly stand behind the laws listed below and their federal implementing regulations and non-regulatory guidance, which are essential to ensuring states and school districts fulfill their obligations to students with disabilities and their families. I urge you not to modify or rescind any.
· Civil Rights Act of 1964
· Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
· Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
· Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
· Higher Education Act;
· Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and
· Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) amending Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
For nearly 50 years, the civil rights of students, including those with disabilities – from infancy into adulthood – have been the focus of key federal laws passed by the U.S. Congress. These laws, upheld by the courts, regularly reauthorized, and consistently aligned to create unified federal policy, provide the strong basis to promote and uphold equity and access to a public education for America’s children, including students with disabilities. I write to urge you not to repeal, replace or modify any of the regulations or guidance that ensure they are implemented appropriately.
I told you I was about to get wonky, didn’t I? But this is important and I know I can count on you.
Please cut and paste any of the comments above or write your own and submit them to Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education here. All comments are due by September 20th, 2017.
It’s critical that your government hear from you about these important issues. It’s the only way they learn what Americans are thinking. Believe me, this Administration hears from high paid lobbyists and billionaire donors all the time. But who they really need to hear from is you.
Thank you for all you do in the fight for the rights of people with disabilities.