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Countdown to Equity: Mothers, Educators and Unions Put The Department of Education on a 90-day Notice to Address Racial Inequities in Public Education

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Countdown to Equity: Mothers, Educators and Unions Put The Department of Education on a 90-day Notice to Address Racial Inequities in Public Education

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Mar 25, 2021

News Press

On March 23, 2021, the Fulfill the Promise Coalition, which is a national group of parents, educators’ unions, and The Advocacy Institute, filed a Petition requesting the U.S. Department of Education issue Guidance to ensure that students with disabilities, particularly students of color, receive the supports and services they need to access a free and appropriate education as students return to schools full time after being unable to access some services and supports due to the pandemic.  For decades systematic underfunding and understaffing of special education has meant that students with disabilities have not had the resources or the services they need to learn. Too often this lack of resources has disproportionately negatively impacted student of color with disabilities. COVID-19 exacerbated these problems, with many students experiencing acute anxiety and depression due to the pandemic’s devastation.  Moreover, remote learning has made access to services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy difficult to deliver over Zoom or reduced due to staffing shortages. The Petition requests the Department to issue guidance on how school districts can best direct American Rescue Plan funds to support these students, and ensure compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Petition also calls on the Department of Education to reinstitute its disparate impact investigations and engage in annual and better data collection so the Department and the public can track districts not ensuring equitable access to education for all students.  Bush Gottlieb is proud to serve as lead counsel on the Petition.

For more information, go to the Washington Post’s article (which has a link to the Petition): https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/03/23/advocates-want-schools-use-relief-funding-on-students-with-disabilities/.

To sign a public petition for support, please visit https://fulfillthepromise.net/.