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Betsy Devos at her confirmation hearing.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick, Doesn’t Support Equal Rights for Disabled Children

Betsy DeVos basically said that if a child is dealing with any form of disability, they should not have the same education opportunities.     

by A. Big Country

Should all K-12 schools receiving governmental funding be required to meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?

If you aren’t familiar with the legislation, its goal is to provide disabled children with the same opportunities to learn as any other child.

If you knew that, you likely answered “yes” to the above question. If you didn’t know, you’d probably answer “yes” now. But what about President-elect Donald Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos? Here’s a series of responses she offered to that question in her Senate hearing:

“I think they already are.”  

Not the point because, as Education Secretary, she could work to make sure every student’s needs are met.

“I think that is a matter that is best left to the states.”  

So, whether your disabled child receives the opportunity for education will be based on where you live? And, as Senator Tim Kaine pointed out, this response also means that states should determine whether or not they should follow a federal law, while simultaneously receiving federal funding.

In the end, Kaine broke it down as a simple yes or no.

Kaine: I think all schools that receive federal funding — public, public charter, or private — should be required to meet the conditions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Do you agree with me or not?

DeVos: I think that is certainly worth discussion.        

That’s a “no,” without actually wanting to say “no” in a Senate hearing where you are vying for a position that puts you in charge of education for every American child. Every American child.

Related: Pence, Trump’s Running Mate, is a Nightmare

According to a 2010 census, there are 2.8 million children (5.8 percent) ages 5 to 17 who have a disability. Those disabilities, as defined in this act, range from “mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.”

What DeVos is saying, then, is that if a child is dealing with any of these inflictions, they should not have the same education opportunities.     

Is DeVos qualified for the position of Education Secretary? Yes or no?


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