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Presidential Candidates & Education for Students with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 30 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. Question 4 in the Questionnaire was: “The jobs of the future will largely require post-secondary education or other credentials. Today 65 percent of students with disabilities complete high school. What policies do you advocate to support the academic and career success of students with disabilities, especially for students from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds?”

Below, read the answers from the five candidates who responded:


close-up of pete buttigieg's face

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

“To enable students with disabilities to thrive, it is critical that they can learn in a safe and supportive environment. This includes investing in policies and initiatives to reduce bullying and end corporal punishment, restraint, and seclusion. While schools are prohibited from suspending students for behavior caused by their disability, students with disabilities are suspended at disproportionately high rates, especially disabled students of color.”

Read the full response (Question 4)


Sen. Amy Klobuchar

“Senator Klobuchar believes it is time for the federal government to live up to its promise to our students by fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She successfully supported a $275 million increase in IDEA grants to states that passed in March 2018 to help students with disabilities receive the services they need. In the Senate, she is a co-sponsor of the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers Act to put Congress on a fiscally-responsible path to fully fund the IDEA and as President she will push to get it passed into law.”

Read the full response (Question 4)

headshot of Amy Klobuchar smiling

close-up of Bernie Sanders smiling while wearing a suit and a tie

Sen. Bernie Sanders

“Bernie will increase educational opportunities for persons with disabilities, including an expansion in career and technical education opportunities to prepare students for good-paying community employment. He’ll cancel all student debt and guarantee tuition and debt free public colleges, universities, trade schools and apprenticeship programs and the end equity gap in higher education attainment for people with disabilities by ensuring all our students get the help they need so they are ready for college and receive the support they need when they are in college.”

Read the full response (Question 4)


Sen. Elizabeth Warren

“I will fight for every kid in America to have access to a high-quality public education. When children with disabilities are supported and included, they can excel. Making sure that students with disabilities have access to a great public education starts with ensuring a free and appropriate public education and fully funding IDEA. My plan invests $800 billion in America’s public schools, including increasing Title I by an additional $450 billion and $200 billion additional dollars in IDEA.”

Read the full response (Question 4)

Elizabeth Warren smiling wearing a blue suit

close up of Andrew Yang smiling wearing a white collared shirt and gray suit jacket

Mr. Andrew Yang

“Ensuring youth with disabilities are ready for competitive employment will require preparing them early. This means rewriting the rules of our education system so that it works for all of our children. Empowering educators and families to help diagnose disabilities at earlier stages will ensure families can get the resources they need. In our current education system, our kids are not all right. It’s time for Congress to live up to its commitment to support students with disabilities.”

Read the full response (Question 4)


RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes as voters go to the polls. RespectAbility has reached out to all of the presidential campaigns and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates. 

Published in2020 CampaignAmy KlobucharAndrew YangBernie SandersDemocratsElizabeth WarrenPete Buttigieg

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