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Department of Education Rescinds Papers on Rights of Disabled Students

HeadlineOct 24, 2017

The Department of Education has revoked 72 policy documents detailing the rights of disabled students, calling them “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.” The documents spelled out ways that schools should comply with two civil rights laws—the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Among the documents rescinded was one offering guidance to schools on how to use federal funds for special education. A spokesperson for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos declined to comment on the changes. During her confirmation hearings last January, DeVos told senators that states should be left to decide whether to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. That prompted a follow-up question to DeVos by New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan.

Sen. Maggie Hassan: “I want to go back to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. That’s a federal civil rights law. So do you stand by your statement a few minutes ago that it should be up to the states whether to follow it?”

Betsy DeVos: “The law must be—federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in—in play.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan: “So were you unaware, when I just asked you about the IDEA, that it was a federal law?”

Betsy DeVos: “I may have confused it.”

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