| Guest columnists
Delivering safe, quality schooling during the pandemic has reinvigorated fundamental moral questions about our society’s commitment to K-12 students with disabilities.
Approximately 14% of school children — 7.1 million students — qualify for special education services. Under federal law, these students are entitled to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible. They are also entitled to individualized education plans (IEPs), which are binding agreements that indicate annual educational goals and supports.
Early data suggests that students with IEPs are disproportionately burdened by the ways schools have adapted to the pandemic. Many parents have reported that their children with IEPs have received no support, and most report that their children are not receiving what they are entitled to.
Experts worry that regression associated with the disrupted school year will unduly affect these students, short and long term.