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News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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NEA, CEC Raise Concerns About Spec. Ed. Rules

The nation's largest teachers' union and a major special education advocacy group are worried about the possible impact of proposed regulations for the main special education law.

The 2.3 million-member National Education Association and the Reston, Va.-based Council for Exceptional Children expressed their concerns in an April 2 letter to Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. The Department of Education plans to release its final rules in the coming weeks, spokesman Jim Bradshaw said.

The NEA and the CEC say an Education Department proposal would require that all disabled students' individualized education plans be rewritten by July 1 to comply with new provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The two groups want the rules to state instead that schools must only begin the process of rewriting the plans on July 1.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee plans to hold a hearing this week on the proposed regulations.

Tirozzi Orders Funding Release

The California state school board cannot withhold federal technology money from districts for their failure to comply with a state assessment mandate, the federal Department of Education says.

Gerald N. Tirozzi, the Education Department's assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, wrote in April 9 letters to California officials that "it is not proper" for the state to deny federal Technology Literacy Challenge funds to an otherwise qualified district because it refuses to give a new state achievement test to each of its students. He called on the state to release the technology aid within 30 days.

But the state board disagrees and was mulling its next move last week, said Bill Lucia, the board's executive director.

The board's decision affects only the 62,000-student San Francisco school district, according to district Superintendent Waldemar Rojas. San Francisco, which sued the state over testing, has opted not to give the test to some limited-English-proficient students.

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