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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Autism Society Disagrees with Education Department on Racial Disaparities

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities.

On February 27, the U.S. Department of Education published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to postpone the compliance date of the “Equity in IDEA” or “significant disproportionality” Rule by two years until July 1, 2020. For children three through five, the Rule would be postponed for four years until 2022. When Congress last reauthorized the IDEA in 2004, it sought to correct disparate treatment of students of color with disabilities by requiring states, for the first time, to identify school districts with, and direct federal resources to address, gross inequities. The Autism Society opposes this action that delays important resources going to states and schools to correct these inequities. The GAO found that in 2010, states required only two percent of all districts to use IDEA funds for early intervening services to address the overrepresentation problem. The CCD Education Task Force immediately responded to the NPRM, saying “We have long been aware and research shows that students of color and other minorities are disproportionately referred to special education and subject to unfair discipline practices. There is no good reason for this delay.” Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (VA), ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees, also issued a strong statement opposed to the action. The deadline to provide comments is May 13, 2018. The Autism Society will provide comments and will be encouraging affiliates to respond.