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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Racial Disparities -- Will the Education Department Act?

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

Christina Samuels at Education Week:
Four months after deciding to put on hold Obama-era rules relating to racial disparities in special education, the U.S. Department of Education has signaled it plans to take a crack at creating its own set of policies on the topic.
The department said it plans to release a "notice of proposed rulemaking" this fall. No other information is available; publishing its intent in a government document called the Unified Agenda is just the first step in what could be a lengthy process. (The Obama administration worked on its version of these rules for two years before they were finalized.)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, last reauthorized 14 years ago, requires states to monitor school districts in how they identify minority students for disabilties, discipline them, or place them in restrictive classroom settings. Districts found to have "significant disproportionality" in one or more of those areas must set aside 15 percent of their federal special education dollars to address those disparities. Well under 5 percent of the nation's districts have ever been identified by their states as having significant problems.

The Obama-era rules that were put on hold would have required states to use a standardized methodology for evaluating district practices, starting this school year. That methodology would likely have led to many more districts being identified as having such disparities. But the Trump administration had real problems with that approach, saying it could lead to special education quotas.