Federal Special Education Website Goes Dark
A day after a controversial new secretary of education was sworn in, a federal website focused on special education was down, but officials said the issue should be no cause for alarm.
The U.S. Department of Education’s website about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act returned an error Wednesday morning.
However, agency officials said the issue is nothing more than a technical glitch that is being addressed.
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“We were made aware of the problem early this morning and we are actively working to resolve. There have been server issues relating to this going back to at least Jan. 27,” a department spokesman who did not wish to be named said on Wednesday. “We’re actively working to resolve right now and hope to have the site up and running.”
The digital hiccup was acknowledged less than 24 hours after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was confirmed.
DeVos faced significant opposition from special education advocates during the confirmation process after she fumbled when senators questioned her about IDEA.
The education secretary initially indicated that it is a “matter that’s best left to the states” when asked if all schools receiving tax dollars should be subject to IDEA’s mandates.
She later admitted “I may have confused it” and said in a letter to one senator that she is “committed to enforcing all federal laws and protecting the hard won rights of students with disabilities.”
Late Wednesday night, the Education Department said it redirected the crashed site to a separate existing page about IDEA as a “short term fix.”
“The server for idea.ed.gov was managed by a contractor and not part of the main Ed.gov, which is why the rest of the main site and content relating to IDEA on the main site was not impacted,” an agency spokesman told Disability Scoop Thursday morning. “We are looking at long term solutions, since the server routinely had problems dating back at least two weeks.”
Last month, nearly every disability reference was removed from the White House website after the Trump administration took over. To date, the online presence of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. contains just a handful of references to disabilities.
Updated: February 9, 2017 at 11:17 A.M. ET
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