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All4Ed, Civil Rights Groups, and Education Leaders Urge Congress to Protect Students’ Civil Rights as Schools Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak

As the novel coronavirus spreads and prolonged school closures increase nationwide, the leaders of six national civil rights and education advocacy organizations, including All4Ed, joined together to issue a collective statement calling on Congress and the U.S. Department of Education to refrain from abusing or expanding waiver authority under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Widespread school closures are disrupting student learning, and we must do everything possible to ensure learning continues even if school buildings must close. States, school districts, and schools will need flexibility to meet students’ needs. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has appropriately issued guidance in this regard on several issues, including the potential for targeted waivers from specific accountability and assessment requirements of ESSA as well as guidance on special education and civil rights protections. We support state leaders as they make thoughtful decisions about how best to consider their local context and make the right decisions for their students.