Pittsburgh, PA (April 1, 2020) –
The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has submitted a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos related to concerns about a provision included in the recently enacted H.R. 748 (CARES Act). LDA along with 39 national and state organizations, on behalf of parents, families, and educators of individuals with learning disabilities, urged the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider offering any recommendations to Congress for additional waivers needed for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, pursuant to Section 3511 of the CARES Act. Any additional waivers would significantly roll back civil rights protections for students with disabilities, including individuals with learning disabilities.
Over 7 million children, including more than 2 million with specific learning disabilities, the highest proportion category of disabilities under IDEA, rely on IDEA and Section 504 to receive necessary special education supports, services, instruction and protections. The recommendation of waivers under IDEA or Section 504 could lead to the unraveling of civil rights and educational protections for children and other individuals with learning disabilities.
The COVID-19 outbreak has placed a tremendous and unprecedented strain on states, schools, and districts. LDA understands the challenges and need for flexibility; however, it is imperative that we find solutions that do not put our children’s education at risk by undoing many of their civil and educational rights. We must protect our most vulnerable children, especially now.
Monica McHale-Small, President of LDA states that “We recognize that public schools are in a difficult situation. Nonetheless we have confidence that educators can partner with parents and find creative ways to meet the needs of students with learning and other disabilities absent waiving the rights of those students.”
The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is a non-profit organization of parents, educators, adults with LD, and professionals. LDA’s mission is to create opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy. For more information go to www.ldaamerica.org.