We recently alerted you that the same federal bill that created funds for COVID-19 relief also included language that would allow the Secretary of the United States Department of Education to recommend to Congress changes that could affect Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and Section 504 Plans. We encouraged you to contact United States Congress members and Secretary Betsy DeVos to give your feedback about this plan.
On April 28, Secretary DeVos recommended to Congress that the laws about IEPs and 504 Plans stay the same, with the exception of some timelines. You can read her report here, and this article provides a good summary.
As the article points out, some states are asking parents to waive certain rights even though the federal law has not changed. Fortunately, this memo from the New Jersey State Department of Education clarifies that it is a violation of federal law for school districts to require that families waive their rights in order to get special education services for their children. We urge you to be aware of any efforts in Mississippi to ask parents to waive their rights in order for their children to receive services.
We appreciate Secretary DeVos’ decision and know that hearing from families across the United States undoubtedly supported her in acting in keeping with the rights of our children to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. Our voices matter.
All of our work at Families as Allies is guided by three core beliefs about families. We believe:
- You know your child better than anyone.
- You are your child’s strongest advocate.
- Systems should follow laws and policies’ about your child’s and family’s rights.