Special Education News in Brief

Education Dept. Will Attempt to Address Racial Bias in Special Education

By Christina A. Samuels — October 23, 2018 1 min read
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Four months after deciding to put on hold Obama-era rules relating to racial disparities in special education, the U.S. Department of Education has signaled it will create its own set of policies on the topic this fall.

No other information is available; publishing its intent in a government document called the Unified Agenda is just the first step in what could be a lengthy process. (The Obama administration worked on its version of these rules for two years before they were finalized.)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires states to monitor school districts in how they identify minority students for disabilities, discipline them, or place them in restrictive classroom settings. Districts found to have “significant disproportionality” in one or more of those areas must set aside 15 percent of their federal special education dollars to address those disparities.

The Obama-era rules that were put on hold would have required states to use a standardized methodology for evaluating district practices, starting this school year. That methodology would likely have led to many more districts being identified as having such disparities. But the Trump administration had problems with that approach, saying it could lead to special education quotas.

A version of this article appeared in the October 24, 2018 edition of Education Week as Education Dept. Will Attempt to Address Racial Bias in Special Education

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