Department of Education Report: No Waivers to Students’ Rights

On April 27, 2020, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos submitted her report concerning waivers to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”).

DeVos and the Department of Education (“Department”)  are not requesting waivers that would impact a student’s right to receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.  Specifically, there are no waivers to IEP timelines, special education assessment, related services, and individualized education.  The report states that schools can and must provide education to all students, including students with disabilities.  The report also addressed the issue of services that would normally be provided in-person, stating that these services may be provided through alternative methods, with parent input.

The report requests certain waivers, mostly related to funding.  There is one waiver that is directly related to evaluations and services for children around the age of 3.  Specifically, the Department is requesting that the timeline be extended for the evaluation of children aging out of early intervention services.  Ordinarily, around the age of 3, children receiving early intervention services would be evaluated for preschool special education and exited from the early intervention program.  DeVos’ report requests additional time to complete this evaluation.  In the meantime, affected children would continue to receive early intervention services, even after they have aged out. 

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