DRC-NH is pleased that Governor Sununu responded promptly to our coalition’s letter requesting a firm commitment to providing children with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) even if the federal government permits states to waive certain rights for children with disabilities. We appreciate the Governor’s reiteration of the NH Department of Education’s guidance and join him in recognizing the commitment New Hampshire’s teachers and school administrators have shown during these unprecedented times.
However, we are concerned that the Governor’s Response left open the possibility that he might consider undermining the rights of children with disabilities if the U.S. Department of Education obtains a waiver loosening children’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
While families throughout the state struggle to adjust to remote learning, we must remember that the challenges faced by families of children with significant disabilities continue to require additional attention and unique solutions. We also must remember that all children, regardless of disability, are entitled to equal access to public education. Children with disabilities require special education, related services, and accommodations to secure such access.
DRC-NH strongly opposes any effort that would undermine the educational rights of NH’s children with disabilities.