Thursday, February 16, 2017

BREAKING: Update on IDEA Website

Today I was interviewed by Emma Brown, the Washington Post reporter who covered the missing Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website last week. She told me what she's heard from the department, and I told her what I'm hearing from parents.

From her article, "Education Department's Special-Ed Has Been Down for More Than a Week, and Parents are Not Happy":
"There's been no estimate of when it'll be restored, no explanation of why it's not there," said Mark Miller, who blogs about special-education issues and is a Montgomery County, Md., parent of a child with special needs. "It makes people feel like we're not important and our children are not important. Their communication has been very poor and is contributing to the perception that this is not a priority for the secretary."

The article was posted online at 5:21pm today, and at some point the website reappeared, pretty much in the same form it was before -- idea.ed.gov. Which is odd considering what a department official told Brown:

  • "The site has been troubled by technical glitches and IT experts are not comfortable restoring the site at this point because its server remains unstable and could crash at any time." When did they change their mind, and is the site still unstable?
  • "Everything that was available on the website is available elsewhere on the main Education Department site." The official either lied or was misinformed. This simply was not true.
This isn't just about a website. When it comes time for this administration to recommend policy affecting children with disabilities, remember that the department's first actions regarding special education were to:
  • Announce on Twitter that a "technical glitch" had removed special-education information from the department's website (only after this has been pointed out by numerous concerned families).
  • Ignore phone calls, emails, and other inquiries from teachers, parents, and senators.
  • Not post any follow-up information for a week (and they still haven't).
  • State that the website could not be restored because it was not stable.
  • Falsely claim the information was available somewhere else on the education department's website.
  • Restore the website after allowing the issue to blow up due to a lack of honesty and transparency.
In related news, yesterday Secretary DeVos launched her official Twitter account, @BetsyDevosED. Which is appropriate, because in only her second week, I already feel like I've been #BetsyDevosed.
Post a Comment

Disability Scoop

Special Ed News (Education Week)

Special Education Law