Senator Dianne Feinstein
331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Feinstein,
I am writing to you as my elected representative. I have a child with an IEP, and this issue is of utmost importance to me. I am a voter, and right now I need your support- my family depends on it.
The purpose of this letter is to urge you reject any provision that would grant the Secretary of Education authority to waive the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in whole or in part. While the COVID-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a difficult time for our nation, and indeed the world, disrupting services to children with disabilities any more than is absolutely necessary will cause irreparable damage to our nation’s students and their families. Approximately 7 million children depend on special education services, and many of those children will experience irreversible regression if those services are suspended. They will not be able to compensate for lost instructional time the same way that their peers without special needs can; many of these children will lose essential foundational skills and as a result will be unable to access their education.
I am also concerned about the economic impact of suspending services, as families who depend on educational and therapeutic programming through their school districts will struggle to find alternative providers, and many will be unable to afford replacement services for their children. These same incredible providers (Speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, ... will lose the opportunity to earn a fair wage and feed their families with the suspension of essential services. Preserving our investments in students now will protect the nation’s long term economic and social interests.
This is a trying time for all children and families, but children with special needs are among our most vulnerable community members and they need the support of IDEA now more than ever. As we look toward the future it is vital that we protect our children, and an essential component of that protection is ensuring that all children have the resources they need to learn and grow.