Today, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has made their decision clear: the Equity in IDEA Regulation will be delayed another two years, as students of color continue to be identified as having a disability at high rates, placed in separate settings, and disciplined more frequently and harshly than their peers.
You may recall that the USED proposed the delay back in February. The Equity in IDEA Regulation was designed in 2016 to ensure that students with disabilities are protected from overidentification, segregation, or harsh discipline. It was set to take effect on July 1, 2018.
As part of the process to change this existing regulation, the USED collected public comments on the proposal. Knowing that children cannot afford to wait two years to have their needs met, NCLD issued a call to action, to help educate parents and families and urge our communities to come out against this proposed delay. The longer we wait, the more students will be hurt by unfair special education identification, placement, and discipline practices in our schools.
The USED received comments from 390 individuals and organizations, with more than 85% opposing the delay. In spite of this outpouring of opposition from parents, teachers, school districts, states and disability rights organizations, the USED is pushing ahead with a delay of the Equity in IDEA Regulation.
NCLD is deeply concerned by the Administration’s blatant disregard for the views of the people most impacted by the rule. We are also concerned that the USED has failed to propose any measures designed to meet its legal obligation to meet the needs of students with disabilities and to uphold the civil rights of all students. Unfortunately, this unwarranted delay indicates a lack of regard for our students and their rights. NCLD — along with our partners and the parents we serve — will continue to advocate for equal protection under the law and appropriate identification and treatment of students with disabilities.
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