Public Denied Opportunity to Get Answers from Education Secretary DeVos

For Immediate Release             
December 21, 2017    

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122
press@ndrn.org

WASHINGTON – The House Education and Workforce Committee cancelled a December 20th hearing with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. In response, NDRN Public Policy Director Eric Buehlmann issued the following statement:

“NDRN is dismayed by the abrupt cancellation of the hearing Education and Workforce Committee hearing with Secretary DeVos. This would have been the first opportunity for Secretary DeVos to testify and be questioned by Congress since her confirmation.

“Given the controversial and distressing actions at the Education Department thus far, and the impact of those actions on all students, including students with disabilities, it is imperative that our elected Members and the public have an opportunity to hear from Secretary DeVos. The American people deserve explanations of the Department’s actions as well as the Department’s plans for the future.

“Some of the topics that NDRN feels must be addressed in a future hearing are:

•    Issues around students with disabilities and voucher – like schemes: specifically, IDEA rights, and parental notification.

•    Issues around protections for students with disabilities: specifically, the disproportionality regulations and discipline guidance documents.

•    Issues around the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): specifically, state plans, assessments for students with disabilities, the 1% cap, and waiver requests.

•    Issues around the Office of Civil Rights (OCR): specifically, how systemic versus individual complaints are to be investigated and resolved.

•    Issues around the Rehabilitative Services Administration (RSA) specifically, competitive integrated employment, sheltered workshops and transition related services under the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA).

“The impact of the actions by Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education on our nation’s students cannot be overstated. NDRN calls on the Committee to reschedule this hearing in a timely fashion and allow both our elected officials as well as the public the opportunity to hear from Secretary DeVos."

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.