Dear HECSE Members:
As you will recall, the CARES Act requires Sec. DeVos to send a report to Congress with recommendations for waivers to IDEA and other federal education laws during the pandemic. She delivered that report on Monday April 27. You can read it here: https://www2.ed.gov/
I am pleased to report that Sec. DeVos did not recommend any IDEA waivers related to the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education for students with disabilities. HECSE weighed in opposing such waivers. See: http://www.c-c-d.org/
Sec. DeVos did propose two waiver authorities – one related to the timelines for transition for toddlers from Part C to Part B and the other related to Personnel Preparation grants. For the personnel preparation grants, she recommend that Congress provide her with waiver authority to modify the service obligation requirements for Personnel Preparation grant recipients. She would be able to defer the work or repayment requirements or allow credit to be given for the service obligation if employment was interrupted by the COVID-19 emergency. This provision is in line with the changes made to TEACH grants in the CARES Act. TED supports this modification as it will enable the service obligation provision to be implemented fairly given the complications caused by the pandemic. The next step would be for Congress to include these waiver authorities as statutory provisions in the next COVID-19 relief package, which is anticipated in the next month or so.
HECSE continues to monitor developments related to special education and educator preparation.
Thank you for making your voice heard and for all the work you do.
Jane E. West Ph.D.
Education Policy Consultant