In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
On Friday, the federal office for special education and rehabilitative services took its first crack at clearing the book of "outdated, unnecessary or ineffective regulations." In all, 63 pieces of guidance from the office for special education were identified for elimination.
That sounds like a lot. But it appears that many of the guidance documents were targeted because they're just very old. Fifty of the guidance documents marked for elimination predate the most recent reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was passed in November 2004. For example, one memo, which does not have a link available, is a 35-year-old letter to state chiefs about data collection for fiscal year 1983.
This is just the first step in the process of clearing out old regulations and guidance; the department noted that it is still analyzing public comments.
But it's noteworthy that within special education, there are some pretty important regulations that cannot be eliminated or even substantively modified through this process, because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act forbids it. Those include regulations related to parental consent to initial evaluation or initial placement in special education, least restrictive environment, timelines, and attendance of evaluation personnel at individualized education program meetings.
Those very substantive regulations were in place prior to July 20, 1983, and the IDEA says they can't be "procedurally or substantively lessened" without "the clear and unequivocal intent of Congress in legislation."At Disability Scoop, Michelle Diament points out that the Department rescinded nine documents from the Rehabilitation Services Administration