On October 2, 2017, the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) rescinded 72 Guidance Documents which explained regulatory obligations of school districts for students with disabilities. This rescission has caused a public outcry due to its suddenness and lack of openness and explanation. Indeed, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) issued a statement yesterday:
“COPAA is disappointed in the way OSERS has made this announcement because the process undertaken lacks complete transparency to the public. It is unfortunate that the list of rescissions does not include any explanation for changes made which leaves stakeholders in the dark.”
We are reviewing the list of rescinded documents for impact on students with disabilities and services, but at this time, parents should not panic. More than 50 of the rescinded documents are dated before 2004, when Congress last reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In addition, some of the documents are aligned to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which has been reauthorized and replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Laws and Regulations under each Guidance Document remain in effect.
We are continuing to monitor the actions of the U.S. Department of Education and OSERS under the new administration. The removal of these Guidance Documents bears review and attention due to its breadth, scope and lack of transparency but should not affect your child at this time. Remember, New York state offers greater protection than the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and New York State guidance is still in effect. We will keep you apprised. For questions about your child’s services or regulatory changes, contact an experienced attorney.