DeVos told members of the Senate Health, Education and Pensions Committee tonight that “it should be up to the states” to determine whether publicly funded schools should be forced to adhere to provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. That’s disturbing news for parents of children with disabilities.
Voucher schools are already legally able to refuse to provide necessary accommodations for students with disabilities.That’s precisely why advocacy groups like the Council for Exceptional Children oppose voucher programs. And charter schools aren’t reliably better.
DeVos should know this. Here’s The New York Times on Michigan’s charter system, the very same system she’s promoted and funded for years:
As the state embraced and then expanded charters over the past two decades, its rank has fallen on national reading and math tests. Most charter schools perform below the state average.
Compared to traditional public schools, Michigan’s charter system also serves fewer children with disabilities. The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools’s Lauren Morando Rhim attributed this in part to a lack of resources.
It’s difficult to overstate how nightmarish DeVos’s policy positions would be for students with disabilities and their parents. With no guaranteed access to publicly funded private education, parents of these students would have little choice but to send their children to public schools—even if they’re underfunded due to local voucher programs. That would create a discriminatory, two-tiered educational system. And that doesn’t seem to bother DeVos, who refused to say whether she’d preserve funding for public education.
And if your child is sexually assaulted at school, good luck: DeVos also would not confirm her intention to enforce Title IX as it’s currently defined.