If you are a parent, relative, teacher, or administrator looking to understand the rights of children under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, you may have to look harder.
That section on the Department of Education website now has a major broken link.
Soon before Betsy DeVos squeaked by in her confirmation hearings as the new Education Secretary, the website was fully functional. Since late last week, though, understanding the federal law that protects the rights of children with disabilities has become vastly more difficult.
Betsy DeVos, a billionaire whose own children attended private schools, did not understand the law herself and maybe still does not. She avoided or bungled questions about it during her confirmation. If she had been given a score for her knowledge about resources for children with disabilities, it probably would have been a D if the tester were generous.
The new occupants of the White House are anything but generous when it comes to people who look, sound, or act much different from them. Trump mocked a reporter with physical disabilities who dared to throw more than softball questions his way during the presidential primaries. Our new Attorney General has dismissed the federal act that helps clear a level learning field for all students for its “special treatment of certain children.”
My daughter is one of those “certain children.” Although born with an extra chromosome, she is not in special education because of extraordinary luck, extraordinary teachers, a community in Hawaii that has embraced our family, and a lot of determination and joy on everyone’s part, day in and day out. Are extra chromosomes something I even contemplated when my husband and I tried for five years to become parents? Honestly, no. Am I proud and thrilled to be a parent of a “certain child” and will be her advocate for the rest of my life?
The answer is in this picture, taken on her school’s fitness day, where she held her own on a level field. How could I not be the proudest Dad around?!