The federal government recently dismissed an investigation into the Indiana Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights earlier this year opened an investigation citing “disturbing reports” from parents of students with disabilities who said their children were forced into “one size fits all” remote learning programs.
Ron Hager, managing attorney for education and employment with the National Disability Rights Network, said the federal inquiry into IDOE is unique. Hager said he knows of no other instance in which the U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into a state department of education over its handling of special education complaints.
“So, what this case says is there were complaints to the [Indiana] education agency, that these school districts were taking this one size fits all approach, and the [Indiana] education agency didn’t do anything about it,” he said.
Hager said his organization has heard from families across the country that students with disabilities did not receive the individualized services they needed during the pandemic.
He said he was excited about the investigation and hopes it will lead to similar investigations in other states across the country. However, Hager said he’s disappointed that the federal government dismissed its inquiry.
Adele Rapport, regional director for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, wrote in a letter to Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner dated June 25 that the agency “did not have sufficient, specific information indicating that IDOE was excluding or denying