Wednesday, October 21, 2015
COPAA Opposes SOAR Act: Students and Parents Must Not be Required to Give Up Rights Under IDEA in the Name of "Choice"
COPAA opposes the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Reauthorization Act - which seeks to create portability of federal funds for students with disabilities to private schools. This portability is egregious for several reasons: First, the purpose is disingenuous in that all parents would be required to give up rights under IDEA in the name of “choice.” Parents or students must not have to give up procedural or substantive requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), nor their right to an impartial due process hearing when the schools fails to comply. Schools that accept federal funds under voucher programs must comply with applicable federal laws, and the Individualized Education Program (IEP) must remain the cornerstone of providing individualized special education and related services designed to meet each eligible student’s unique needs. Second, states cannot, by delegating the education function to private voucher schools, place students beyond the reach of the federal laws in its administration of publicly funded programs. (See: 2013 Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter to the WDPI).