What About Special Education in the Age of Corona?

As so many rightfully praise classroom teachers for quickly adapting their instruction for a new, virtual environment, advocates need to be sure that such desperate times do not provide school districts the opportunity to shirk their duties when it comes to IDEA and students with learning disabilities.

Big kudos to Emily Richards and USA Today for placing a spotlight on this important issue, and for speaking with dear illl’ Eduflack about his district’s decision to suspend IEP and 504 meetings for an undetermined period (read until next fall).

For students who already receive accommodations and special services to catch up because of the years their families fought to get them the adequate educations they are guaranteed under the law, lack of leadership by the US Department of Education and adversarial relationships with school districts that have denied special needs learners is a potential recipe for disaster.

“I get that this is the first week. But everything we have fought for in my son’s (individualized education plan) now gets put on hold,” Riccards said.

Read the full article here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/03/19/coronavirus-online-school-closing-special-education-teacher-distance-learning/2863503001/

2 thoughts on “What About Special Education in the Age of Corona?

  1. I understand FIRST HAND your concerns for your son and his education. However, I think you need to understand that the our country is facing a health crisis that needs to be addressed first. The health and well-being of people need to be protected. Once the logistics of all this is figured out, and it may take some time with some very unfortunate outcomes beyond education, then school districts and educators will be anxious to get back to the important task of educating all students and meeting the individual needs of students. In the meantime, I hope that you can extend compassion and concern and an appreciation for the great health challenges our nation is facing. Right now, this country needs to come together in a supportive way and I hope your readers can count on you to do set an example of support.

    • I agree with you on this being a crisis, and agree that much of what happens with public schools is going to take time. I’d also say this isn’t an issue about our child the past three days. I was willing to tell our story because it has to be personal and the issue can’t be talked about in the abstract. It is about how school districts that are regularly adversarial when it comes to special needs parents can use this uncertain time to do even less than they are required to do, but often resist doing. If we can’t count on districts to do right by our special needs children during the good times, we are now supposed to trust them to do right when it gets more challenging? IDEA protections are not subjective. When special needs parents agree to suspend their advocacy for whatever reason, they risk losing those hard-fought rights forever.

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