Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Tony Evers’ DPI takes money for special ed kids to use for “white privilege” conference


This is pretty outrageous. According to the MacIver Institute, The Department of Public Instruction used money that was intended for special education to pay for staff to a conference on “white privilege.” Bad enough to have the conference at all, but to take money meant for special education?

An investigation by the MacIver Institute has discovered Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) used federal funds from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to cover the almost $2,000 cost of staff members’ attendance at the national White Privilege Conference (WPC) held in Madison in late March.

Records from DPI obtained through an open records request show that it paid for eight staff members to attend the conference.

“We did register eight staff,” Sherri Honaker, DPI Special Education Office Operations Associate, said in an email to a colleague. “The registrations were paid for with IDEA Discretionary funds.”

The IDEA website does not specifically state what discretionary funds may be used for. MacIver emailed the Department of Education (DOE) to determine if these funds could be used to attend the WPC but did not receive a response.

The federal DOE’s website explicitly states, however, that IDEA is meant to help children with disabilities and provide funding for programs related to special education.

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation,” the website reads. “IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.”

Evers owes Wisconsin’s parents of children with disabilities an apology.

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