Blog‎ > ‎

ACTION ALERT 2 - So what have you done for me lately?

posted Mar 20, 2020, 8:36 AM by Diane Willcutts   [ updated Mar 20, 2020, 2:08 PM ]
On the plus side, yesterday's effort worked!  The reason the awful "let's suspend IDEA for the next year or more" wasn't included in yesterday's stimulus bill is due to all the efforts of parents and disability rights organizations to virtually storm Congress!  

HOWEVER, this bill requires that the Secretary of Education provide a report with recommendations for possible waivers in regards to IDEA (special education law) AND also Section 504 (civil rights law protecting students with disabilities).  I.e., the IDEA and 504 waivers aren't part of this bill.  But having the Secretary of Education write a report recommending waivers is a step in the process to remove protections for our kids.  So. . . 

Please keep the pressure on Congress!  

Yesterday's action alert that includes contact information for members of Congress is here.

Today's action alert from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) is here.

A sample letter to Congress is at the end of this post.

From Lou Geigerman (advocate in Texas--posted on Facebook 16 hours ago on 3/19/2020)
The provision that we were concerned about never was inserted in the bill that passed yesterday. However, a follow up stimulus bill that is being introduced tomorrow by Senator Alexander in HEN 20255 has the following language and needless to say it is very concerning to all of us and we need to contact our US SENATORS TO REMOVE ANY LANGUAGE RELATING TO WAIVERS FOR IDEA or other education policy:


18 (3) IDEA REPORT.—Not later than 30 days
19 after the date of enactment of this Act, the Sec-
20 retary of Education shall prepare and submit a re-
21 port to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor,
22 and Pensions and the Committee on Appropriations
23 of the Senate, and the Committee on Education and
24 Labor and the Committee on Appropriations of the
25 House of Representatives, with recommendations on


HEN20255 S.L.C.

5XT 2N J6H
1 any additional waivers the Secretary believes are

2 necessary to be enacted into law under the Individ-
3 uals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.

4 1401 et seq.) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29
5 U.S.C. 701 et seq.) to provide limited flexibility to
6 States and local educational agencies to meet the
7 unique needs of students with disabilities during the
8 emergency involving Federal primary responsibility

9 determined to exist by the President under the sec-
10 tion 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief

11 and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5191(b))
12 with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019
13 (COVID-19).

Diane Willcutts

(street address)

West Hartford, CT  06119

(860) 992-5874


March 20, 2020


Senator Chris Murphy

U.S. Senate

(202) 224-9750 (fax)


Re:  COVID-19 Bill - Today's Attack on IDEA and Section 504


Dear Senator Murphy:


As I wrote yesterday, I am an advocate for Connecticut children with disabilities.  I am horrified to hear that there are continued efforts in Congress to ultimately permit the Secretary of Education to waive provisions of IDEA and now Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  These attacks on protections for students with disabilities need to stop!


I urge you to reject any provision that would lead to waiver authority to the Secretary of Education regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504. 


I hope you will help schools by providing states with additional funding that can be used to provide teachers and school leaders and families with the tools they need to connect to teach and support students.


Please support the students with disabilities that rely upon the IDEA, Section 504, and the ADA to have equitable access to an education.  If I can be of any help, please let me know.




Diane Willcutts

Diane Willcutts,
Mar 20, 2020, 1:17 PM