U.S. Department of Education proposes new IDEA regulations to address disparate treatment of disabled students of color

On February 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education proposed new IDEA regulations to address the disparate treatment of students of color who have disabilities.  The proposed regulation is meant to address two disparities identified by USDOE.  First, students of color are disproportionately more likely to be identified as children with disabilities.  Second, disabled students of color are more likely to be disciplined than disabled Caucasian students and, when disciplined, often face harsher discipline.

The proposed regulation requires each state department of education to establish a standard methodology designed to identify school districts in which significant disproportionality of either type exists.  Once a school district is identified, it will be required to set aside IDEA funds to provide “early intervention services” designed to identify and address the factors that lead to disparate treatment.  The school district must examine, and revise if necessary, its policies, practices, and procedures to address the disparate treatment as part of its efforts to eliminate such treatment.

The Department’s explanation for its proposal, the proposed regulations, and instructions on how to comment about the proposed regulations may be found here.

 

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