Crossing the Political Line for People with Disabilities

Most nonprofits try to stay out of politics so they don’t upset their donors. But when an organization states it advocates on behalf of people with disabilities, and has nothing to show for it, playing it safe through inaction may come back to haunt it. A recent article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer brings awareness to one such issue:

A U.S. Department of Education website, empowering families of students with disabilities, has disappeared — and already embattled Trump education chief Betsy DeVos may be to blame.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell want to know what happened to the vanished website, and have asked Education Secretary DeVos to put it back up.

The resource has been inexplicably taken away. In a letter to DeVos — whose confirmation both senators vocally opposed — Cantwell and Murray explained:

“We are deeply concerned that prior to your confirmation and arrival at the Department, the centralized resource website for the IDEA became inaccessible to the public for more than a week, and is now redirecting people to a site for the Office of Special Education Programs.

The new website “lacks much of the information previously available,” the senators wrote.

“The Department’s failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators and administrators to find the resources they need to implement this federal law and protect the rights of children with disabilities,” the senators told DeVos.

Is this a signal for things to come? Will nonprofits who advocate on behalf of people with disabilities rally supporters? Time — and leadership — will tell.

Read the full story here.

Photo of Senator Patty Murray D-Wash by Sy Bean,