Action Alert: Oppose Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

Access Living has been monitoring the U.S. Senate process to confirm Betsy DeVos as U.S Secretary of Education. Given that she does not have a clear and supportive vision of the education and rights of children with disabilities in all school settings, we oppose her nomination and forward to you an action alert below, from our friends at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).

February 1, 2017

Join students with disabilities, parents, and advocates to let your senators know that Betsy DeVos' support for school vouchers will undermine the rights of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Ask them to vote NO to her confirmation!

Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have indicated that they are voting NO to Betsy DeVos! We only need one more NO vote. The Senate may vote as soon as Thursday or Friday this week!! So calls are needed now through Friday.

Ms. DeVos has a long history of supporting the use of public money to provide vouchers that parents can use at private schools. Most of the state voucher and school choice programs have one thing in common: when a family accepts a voucher, they lose IDEA civil rights protections for their children with disabilities.

At her Senate HELP Committee hearing on January 17th, when she was asked if schools that take vouchers should be required to meet the requirements of IDEA, she responded, "I think that's a matter that's best left to the states."

Families with disabled children rely on a robust public school system with federal oversight to access the educational opportunities that nondisabled children take for granted. The Secretary of Education must be their strongest advocate in upholding their civil rights. Ms. DeVos will not be that advocate. She will put states' rights before children's rights.

Call now through Friday, February 3rd. Join us to let the Senate know that the rights of children with disabilities must not be put at risk. Here's how - it only takes a few minutes of your time:

By Phone: Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (the Switchboard line may be busy-you can call back as many times as needed) and ask to be connected to your Senator's office. Let them know who you are, why you are calling, and why it matters:

My name is XXXX and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to vote NO on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. This matters to me because I am a student with a disability / parent / family member of a child with a disability / teacher / advocate. Ms. DeVos' long time support for vouchers and her failure to recognize that a strong federal role is necessary to ensure children with disabilities basic educational opportunity makes her unfit to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

Thank you on behalf of all of us at DREDF. We are with you!