An Obama-era Department of Education policy relating to racial bias in special education was on, then off, and now is back on again.
The rule was supposed to have taken effect for the 2018-19 school year but was delayed for two years by the department until a court blocked that move.
The implementation whipsaw is expected to cause problems for states that had relied on the delay. The new rules, announced in a short notice dated May 20 on the department’s website, could affect how millions of dollars in federal special education funds are spent at the district level. The announcement offers no timetable or additional resources for states.
The rules create a framework that states must use to determine if their districts have disproportionately high numbers of minority students identified for special education services, segregated in restrictive classroom settings, or disciplined at higher rates than their peers. Districts found to have “significant disproportionality” must set aside 15 percent of their federal special education funding to spend on remedies.
A version of this article appeared in the June 05, 2019 edition of Education Week