Education Department Delays Regulation that Helps Minority Students Access Special Education

June 29, 2018
Education Department Delays Regulation that Helps Minority Students Access Special Education

For Immediate Release                 

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122
[email protected]

Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Education chose to delay a regulation intended to help prevent racial disproportionality in special education, which was widely supported by students, parents, school administrators, and the civil rights community.

“Rather than support the education of students with disabilities and listen to the advice received from educators working in the trenches, the Administration today has told both groups they simply do not matter,” said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network.

The Department received hundreds of comments on the significant disproportionality regulations, 83 percent of which opposed the implementation delay, including comments from school districts already in the implementation process.

The Department ignored these comments, despite the fact that the regulations were originally called for in a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, and are already being implemented around the country.

Significant disproportionality refers to a common condition in many schools where students of color are provided fewer special education services than their white peers. They are also more likely to be removed from classrooms, placed in segregated educational settings, and suspended or expelled at higher rates that their white peers.

The compliance date for implementing the significant disproportionality regulations has been postponed by two years, from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2020. This means that children whose educational needs are not being addressed will be required to wait at least two more years for relief.

“The fact is, because of the delay in these regulations, tens of thousands of students may never get the education they deserve,” continued Decker. “The Department of Education is failing these kids.”

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.