Underwood Exposes DeVos Failures that Limit Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities

April 10, 2019
Press Release

Washington—Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) today questioned Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the Department’s failures that limit the civil rights of students with disabilities. Under the leadership of Secretary DeVos, the Department has failed to be transparent about states’ applications for waivers to the 1% cap on alternate assessments enacted by the Every Student Succeeds Act.  This transparency is critical and required by law so parents can ensure their kids are getting the right assessments and a good education that allows them to fulfill their potential.

In response to Underwood, DeVos refused to disclose whether states that were granted waiver extensions made improvements, as is required by law. DeVos falsely claimed that states’ improvement plans were already public and refused to commit under oath to make the full waiver applications public – contradicting promises her staff made to the Education and Labor Committee.

“When access to education is denied, the educational opportunities of bright students are limited and parents are unable to make the best choices for their child. Due to the lack of transparency, students and parents are being denied critical information needed to make well-informed decisions for their education,” said Congresswoman Underwood. “I am deeply concerned that under Secretary DeVos’ leadership, the Department of Education is failing to be transparent and limiting the opportunities for students with disabilities.”

Full video of Underwood’s remarks can be found here.