Secretary of Education in Trump’s cabinet is Betsy DeVos. She has recently rescinded 72 memos which provided guidance on how schools receiving public funding should implement laws that can protect the rights of those students who are disabled.
These memos were basically dealing with two major pieces of legislation. These include the Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) along with the Rehabilitation Act. It needs to be noted here that when Betsy DeVos had come for her Senate confirmation hearing, she was not even aware of the existence of the Disabilities Education Act. At that time, she had just supported this kind of federal requirement of protecting the disabled students. She had further said that this matter should be left to the states to decide, while it is certainly worth discussing.
Later on, she was prodded by another Democrat Sen. whose son has cerebral palsy. She was asked if she knew that the Disabilities Act was actually a federal law. This was when Betsy DeVos refused to give a direct answer. At that time, people were shocked and dismayed that DeVos was not aware of the existence of the Disabilities Education Act.
But Betsy DeVos was still confirmed as the Secretary of Education. This was after receiving a tie-breaking vote from the Vice President, Mike Pence that was received in the Senate on her behalf. Betsy DeVos is the first Cabinet appointee who required the intervention of the vice president in order to occupy her chair.
After occupying her office, she has made it a priority to roll back several federal education regulations. These include the Title IX rules pertaining to college campus sexual assault that had been implemented during the era of Obama.
Now her newsletter has announced the rollback of several disability guidance memos. She has done this as she considers these documents outdated and unnecessary, which makes them ineffective. Some of these memos have titles like “Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Procedures for Parents and Children with Disabilities.” Another is titled “Implementing Community-based Educational Programs for Students with Disabilities.”
There are several views being presented by various Senators regarding the rescinding of these 72 guidance documents by her.
They feel that the guidance around IDEA was basically focused on providing critical clarifications of various regulations. All these were regulations that are required in order to meet the needs of students having disabilities. They are aimed at providing them an appropriate public education that is free and is provided in an environment with the least restrictions.
Betsy DeVos is basically known for her focus on private school education. She wants parents to be given the choice of sending their children to the school that they wish to.
Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.