Last month the Education Department announced the retraction of 72 guidelines, 63 coming out of the Office of Special Education Programs. The rollback is part of the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce government regulations. The department says the policies were removed for being “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.”
On initial review, the guidelines removed mostly clarified student and parent rights, sometimes using common language instead of legal jargon. Others clarified the financial details for using federal money for special education needs.
What does this mean for students?
According to the Washington Post and a spokesperson for the department, there are no policy implications from the changes, just clean up of previously eliminated or outdated policies still on the books. The list of 72 documents contains programs issued between 1980 and 2014. The department originally asked for input from disability rights groups, but did not announce the changes until two weeks after they took effect, leading to confusion among advocates about why the cuts were made.
As most parents of special needs children know, every student has the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This 1973 law establishes funding to make sure that students receive education tailored to their distinct needs, sometimes using alternative resources arranged through a public institution.
Finding the right help
It’s challenging to determine what kind of help your child needs, and understanding legal jargon and financial processes is an extra step many parents can’t do on top of other daily tasks. If you fear that the recent changes will affect your child’s rights, an experienced special education attorney can help you review the law to make sure your child is getting the education he or she needs and deserves.