By Michael Yudin
Recently, there were two pieces in the Washington Post that referenced the difficulties facing students with disabilities and their parents during these very challenging times. Instead of talking about how to ensure robust and meaningful access to educational services, however, some policymakers are talking about which provisions of special education law to waive. This is wrong. We must be talking about how we can better serve children with disabilities, not what we will take away from them.
The recently-passed CARES Act requires the Secretary of Education to submit recommendations to Congress on any waivers of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide states and school districts with more flexibility during the emergency. I served as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services under President Obama — IDEA already provides sufficient flexibility to meet the needs of students with disabilities. These waivers could be a slippery slope to rescinding crucial civil rights for children with disabilities and their families.
While these are very difficult times, we know how to make this work. We must be talking about how we can better serve children, not what we take away from our most vulnerable children and their families. We are better than this. We aim higher.