The Congress recently voted to overturn the U.S. Department of Education’s regulation implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) core requirement that schools be held accountable for the performance of historically marginalized students, including students with disabilities. Thousands of letters were sent by CEC advocates opposing overturning the regulations to their members of Congress. Thank you for your advocacy.
While the Department is prohibited from writing “substantially similar” rules until new legislation is passed they are able to provide guidance. On March 13, only a few days after the regulations were rescinded, Secretary DeVos sent a guidance letter to state chiefs on ESSA’s updated consolidated state plan template, which included accountability provisions. A Statement from the Secretary’s office stated, “The updated template ensures greater flexibility for state and local education leaders to do what they know is best for children, while also maintaining important protections for economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and English learners.” CEC along with many other organizations including the National Governors Association are very concerned that the statutory requirement for stakeholder’s engagement was not included as a priority in the new ESSA template. Parents are key stakeholders in the education of their children. A core tenet of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is collaboration with parents of children with disabilities. This omission of parents, educators, and others as stakeholders by Secretary DeVos is NOT what is best for children with disabilities!