Department Still Compiling Final Regulations for IDEA
Months after missing their target release date, the final rules for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are still nowhere in sight.
"My goal has been and continues to be to move as quickly as possible to publish the final regulations, but to act responsibly and take very seriously each comment we received," Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Judith E. Heumann
wrote in a July 1 letter to the nation's chief state school officers.
Until then, states should abide by the requirements of the IDEA amendments passed last year and any previous rules consistent with the amended law, Ms. Heumann wrote.
The letter gave no hint of when the Department of Education might release the regulations. The much-anticipated rules for the 1997 reauthorization of the main federal special education law were first scheduled to be issued in April. But a 109-page regulatory proposal, released last October, has been mired in controversy. Many school administrators and special educators, for example, were unhappy with the department's proposal to limit suspensions of disruptive disabled students to 10 days--total--each year. ("Administrators Wait as Feds Postpone IDEA Regulations," June 3, 1998.)
Last month, the department's office of special education and rehabilitative services, which Ms. Heumann heads, released additional proposed rules on IDEA personnel-preparation projects.
They would require that colleges and universities awarding federally funded scholarships to students preparing for jobs in special education create systems to track the students' teaching careers for up to seven years after graduation. The IDEA now requires that students receiving such aid work in their field for two years for every year of aid received.
Comments on the teacher-preparation proposal are due Sept. 8 to Sherron Dunmore, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave. S.W., Room 4628, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2641, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , with "payback" in the subject line. For more information, see the July 10 Federal Register.
--JOETTA L. SACK
Vol. 17, Issue 43, Page 34