Trump Administration Rescinds Special Ed Guidance
The U.S. Department of Education is withdrawing dozens of guidance documents addressing everything from transition to due process as part of a Trump administration effort to do away with unnecessary regulation.
The Education Department said Friday that it has rescinded 72 guidance documents — 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs and nine from the Rehabilitation Services Administration — some of which have been on record for decades.
The move comes as the agency works to follow through on an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in February requiring the federal government to “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.”
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Over the summer, the Education Department sought public comment on “regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement or modification.” Now, officials with the agency’s Office of Special Education Programs said they are working in phases to comply with the order.
“The first phase involved reviewing guidance that OSERS has published on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab. Act), as amended,” said Kimberly M. Richey, acting assistant secretary of special education and rehabilitative services, in a statement announcing the decision to withdraw numerous guidance documents. “Initially, we evaluated the guidance to determine those that were outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.”
Guidance documents flagged by the review touch on special education funding, least restrictive environment, private placements, employment and more. Some were issued as recently as 2014 while others have been around since the 1980s.
Policy guidance, often issued in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter, is typically used by the Education Department to clarify how existing laws or regulations should be implemented in schools.
In comments submitted to the Education Department in recent months, disability advocates broadly opposed the Trump administration’s plan to pare down regulations and guidance.
“The IDEA regulations and guidance identified by the Regulatory Reform Task Force for possible repeal, replacement or modification have been established through a comprehensive process as prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act,” wrote Mikki Garcia, president of the Council for Exceptional Children, in comments to the federal agency. “The evaluation of existing regulations and guidance for the purpose of repeal, replacement or modification is unconventional and ill-advised.”
On Friday, multiple disability advocacy groups said they were still examining the rescinded guidance documents to assess what the impact could be on students and their families.