DeVos Has Refused to State Children With Disabilities Deserve Equal Protection in Schools
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos early in October quietly rescinded 72 guidance documents, some in place for many years, that detailed the protections children with disabilities are supposed to receive. During her confirmation hearing DeVos refused to say children with disabilities deserve equal protection in schools, and in fact admitted she was "confused" by the federal laws.
Rather than make an official announcement, the Education Dept.'s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services said in a newsletter Friday - nearly three weeks after taking action - that "a total of 72 guidance documents ... have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective - 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)," according to The Chicago Tribune.
These documents don't change laws, but they aided education officials and experts, teachers and administrators, in how to implement existing laws. The documents also helped translate often confusing legal jargon into terms laypeople can understand and use. By eliminating the documents she has effectively helped ensure children with disabilities will not see the same level of protection that they had with the documents available.
This is yet another attack on children, students, and families of minorities made by DeVos. Just weeks after being sworn in, DeVos, in partnership with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rescinded an Obama-era guidance letter detailing the protections of civil rights transgender students are entitled to, which included examples of how to implement them. She later told a conservative political conference the guidance was an example of "huge overreach" by the Obama administration.
While officially denouncing discrimination, DeVos has said discrimination against transgender students is acceptable because it allows parents to make different school choices for their children.
DeVos is not an education expert. She holds only a bachelor's degree from a small Christian college, and is a charter schools activist who has called public schools a "dead end."
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