FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: TAMARA PURSLEY
NATIONAL DOWN SYNDROME CONGRESS REQUESTS DELAY IN SENATE COMMITTEE CONFIRMATION OF BETSY DEVOS UNTIL QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED
Atlanta, Georgia (January 20, 2017) The National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), the leading voice for the educational rights of students with Down syndrome, commented today regarding serious concerns about a number of the responses that Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos provided at her confirmation hearing earlier this week. In response to a question about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Mrs. DeVos said that IDEA “Is a matter best left up to the States.” Then in answer to a follow up question, Mrs. DeVos acknowledged that she may have been confused about the federal law. NDSC respectfully requests that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) provide Mrs. DeVos an opportunity to publicly clarify her understanding and support of federal enforcement of the civil rights of students with disabilities under IDEA before there is a vote on her confirmation.
David Tolleson, NDSC Executive Director, stated, “We urge the Senate HELP Committee to postpone any votes on Mrs. DeVos’ confirmation until she has clarified her support for the federal role in ensuring that every child with a disability receive a free, appropriate public education consistent with IDEA, the federal special education law, and responds to questions regarding her positions. IDEA is a civil rights law that has had strong bipartisan support since the first version was enacted in 1975. While great progress has been made since then, it is vital that the next Secretary of Education ensures that the law is enforced and commits to working to improve the education of students with disabilities. NDSC stands ready to continue our long-standing work with our nation’s educational leaders to ensure students with Down syndrome and other disabilities receive the education they need to become employed and contributing members of their community.”
In addition to a commitment from Mrs. DeVos to enforce the law and improve education for students with disabilities, NDSC requests answers to our more detailed questions which may be found at http://www.ndsccenter.org/wp-content/uploads/DeVos_questions.pdf.
About the National Down Syndrome Congress
Founded in 1973, the National Down Syndrome Congress is the country’s oldest organization for people with Down syndrome, their families, and the professionals who work with them. A 501(c)(3) non-profit advocacy organization, the NDSC provides support and information about issues related to Down syndrome throughout the lifespan, as well as on matters of public policy relating to disability rights. Well known for its annual convention – the largest of its type in the world – the National Down Syndrome Congress is a grassroots organization recognized for its “family” feel, its “We’re More Alike than Different” public awareness campaign, and, its outreach to individuals from diverse backgrounds. The National Down Syndrome Congress is committed to creating a national climate in which all people will recognize and embrace the value and dignity of people with Down syndrome. For more information about the NDSC, please visit our website at www.ndsccenter.org.