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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Education Department Changes Course on Equity in IDEA

Pursuant to the plain language of the December 19, 2016 Equity in IDEA regulation on significant disproportionality, and in conjunction with the March 7, 2019 decision in COPAA v. Devos, the Department expects States to calculate significant disproportionality for the 2018–2019 school year using the 2016 rule’s standard methodology, or to recalculate using the 2016 rule’s standard methodology if a different methodology has already been used for this school year.
Christina Samuels at Education Week:
The implementation whipsaw is expected to cause problems for states that had relied on the delay of the policy, which relates to disproportional representation of minorities in special education. And these new rules could affect how millions of dollars in federal special education funds are spent at the district level.

The National Association of State Directors of Special Education said that it was "deeply disappointed" in the Education Department's "abrupt" actions, which were announced in a short notice dated May 20 on the department's website. The announcement offers no timetable or additional resources for states.

"A new requirement of this magnitude deserves communication directly from the Department of Education with those responsible for implementation. Moreover, conflicting and untimely direction from the Department is not helpful, nor does it create an effective or efficient means to serve the nation's students with disabilities," said John Eisenberg, the executive director of the special education administrators group, in a statement.