CEC Statement on Report Recommending Waivers Under Key Education Laws

Chad statement 2

Press Contact: Alex Garvey, alexandrag@cec.sped.org

April 28, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the U.S. Department of Education’s release of a report to Congress titled Recommended Waiver Authority Under Section 3511(d)(4) of Division A of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) — which proposes needed waivers under education laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — Chad Rummel, executive director of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), issued the following statement:

“The Council for Exceptional Children congratulates the Department of Education and Secretary DeVos for rightly acknowledging that all students should have access to an education, even during the COVID-19 crisis. We are pleased the Department upheld all of IDEA’s requirements, including providing all eligible children access to a free, appropriate public education. CEC has long been committed to protecting and supporting all provisions of the law. While our members and their communities are facing considerable challenges due to widespread school closings as a result of the pandemic, we — in partnership with our talented and committed members, as well as key partners — continue to advocate for the delivery of special education supports and services to all children with exceptionalities.

The report includes detailed requests for waivers that must now be carefully considered by Congress; CEC will work with Capitol Hill to inform the debate. We are especially committed to closely examining the waiver requests and working with key members of Congress to determine the best process moving forward. In that effort, we must ensure that any legislation considered is designed to provide narrow, time-limited, and targeted flexibility to states, local programs, and educators in support of infants, toddlers, children, and families.

Finally, CEC is pleased to report that, in the past month, our members have sent approximately 5,000 emails to Congress advocating that $12.5 billion in emergency funding for IDEA be provided to support special education. As the lead voice for special educators and children with exceptionalities, we will not relent. CEC will keep the pressure on Congress to follow through to provide the support schools and educators need so that states, districts, parents, and communities can continue to work together in the interests of students with disabilities.”

To learn more about teaching special education remotely during COVID-19, see CEC's resources for special educators.