DeVos’ rollbacks on disability guidelines will not affect UIS


Photographs courtesy of Jacob Tebbe

The Office of Disability Services is located in the Human Resources Building

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos rescinded 72 policy guideline documents outlining the rights of students with disabilities, but experts don’t expect much of an impact on college campuses.

The UIS Office of Disability Services stated that this will not affect UIS students in any way, as these documents relate to K-12 education.

However, the changes will likely not affect special education services at any level.

“There are absolutely no policy implications to these rescissions,” said DeVos’ press secretary in a statement. “Students with disabilities and their advocates will see no impact on services provided.”

The rollback was meant to do away with documents deemed outdated or superfluous.

“It does look like housekeeping to me more than anything else,” said Bill Koski, a professor and director of the Youth and Education Law Project at Stanford University.

One of the documents from 2006 was discarded, for example, because it had been updated in 2011. A similar situation caused another 2012 document to be removed as it had been updated in 2016. Another document dealt with a vocational program that no longer exists.

Lindsay A. Jones, the chief policy and advocacy officer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, told The Washington Post that disability rights groups fought the change, pushing officials to keep all the documents.

Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Maggie Hassan condemned the move via Twitter, with Hassan declaring it “extremely concerning,” and Harris calling it part of “this Administration’s campaign against students with disabilities.”

The documents themselves exist to help clarify the rights of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to parents, teachers, and students. They are meant to take IDEA’s complicated legal jargon and put it into layman’s terms.