Core aspects of special ed law should remain during pandemic, DeVos recommends

Updated: May 19, 2020

This article originally appeared in Chalkbeat on April 27, 2020 by Kalyn Belsha.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos won’t recommend giving school districts the option to bypass major parts of federal special education law, the department announced Monday.

The move will be celebrated by disability rights advocates, who had feared that giving districts any wiggle room could pave the way for a more permanent undoing of civil rights for the country’s nearly 7 million students with disabilities.

It also largely conforms with how DeVos has handled the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic so far: by telling school districts that the obstacles they face are surmountable through hard work and innovation.

But it also leaves big questions about compliance and whether school districts will become vulnerable to legal action if they fail to fully serve students with disabilities, now that nearly every state has ordered or recommended that school