By LaQuanda McNeil
Betsy DeVos, the U.S. secretary of education, has rescinded 72 memos that give schools guidance on what the disability laws mean and how they should be implemented in certain situations. The rescinded memos are related to two pieces of legislation: the individuals with disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act.
According to The Washington Post, DeVos was confused and lacked knowledge about key federal laws involving students with disabilities. When asked questions about rescinding the 72 memos related to IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act, DeVos was stumped and unaware of how to properly answer the questions.
As a federal cabinet matter, there should have been a requirement in place requiring DeVos, who had little experience in public education, to be well-versed and well-informed in her field.
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative services wrote that the memos were rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary or ineffective, however, the memos were created in order to outline how schools were able to use federal money for special education, and what to do in certain situations, which seems important.
Regardless of the fact that the laws were outdated, they may provide guidance to schools that are unaware of how the disability laws work and what to do in certain situations.
The rescinded laws may be important to families who actually have members that are disabled; however, DeVos rescinded them without knowledge about the laws she rescinded. Throughout her career, DeVos has been known to support the voucher programs for schools, but they pose a threat to children with disabilities.
The voucher programs are not a proper fit for students with disabilities. As a part of the voucher program, parents are forced to sign over some of their rights related to the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Forcing a parent to give up rights to their child in any situation is not right if the parent does not pose a threat to the child.
Before deciding to rescind 72 memos related to the Individuals With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, DeVos should have known those laws like the back of her hand.
DeVos is unaware of the exact reason why she rescinded the memos. If DeVos was knowledgeable of the Individuals with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, she may have chosen to keep the memos in place.