WASHINGTON – Students with disabilities and their families are experiencing unprecedented challenges and uncertainties in special education, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces schools and families all over the country to try to figure out the best path forward. But long before the pandemic, students with disabilities and their families faced disparities in education and unmet needs in the classroom. The pandemic underscores the need for vast systemic improvements in special education and more resources for students and families.
Today, The Arc is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation to expand our support of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families during this critical time. The funding will allow The Arc@School to develop new online resources for students and families to ensure they receive the benefits of public education in the least restrictive setting possible, as mandated by federal and state law.
“We are thrilled to receive support from The Coca-Cola Foundation. It will give The Arc@School the capacity to create new resources that will help students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families become empowered during uncertain and challenging times in education, whether they are learning virtually or in the classroom,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc. “The Arc fought hard in the 1960s and 70s to force open the schoolhouse doors and win the right for students with disabilities to attend public schools. But just like other civil rights struggles, the work is far from over. Equal access to education lays important groundwork for people with IDD to have a place in their communities and make meaningful contributions as adults. We thank The Coca-Cola Foundation for understanding the importance of education for people with IDD and for their generous support.”
The Arc@School is The Arc’s National Center on Special Education Advocacy. The Arc@School supports students with IDD (and other disabilities) and their families to successfully navigate the special education system and get the supports and services they need to thrive in school. The program also supports educators to better understand and fulfill their responsibilities toward students and families in the special education system.