After Trump Order, DeVos Rescinds 72 Disabled Students Rights Guidelines

Susan Walsh/AP

The Department of Education on Oct. 2 rescinded 72 policy guidance documents related to students with disabilities, some decades old, saying they were “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.”

The Washington Post reported on the rescinded guidance documents on Saturday, noting that the Education Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services had published a list of the 72 guidelines the previous day.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education told TPM Monday that “[s]tudents with disabilities and their advocates will see no impact on services provided.” The spokesperson also provided a list of the rescinded guidelines that included the reason for each rescission (see below).

The Post reported the change was part of President Donald Trump’s charge to executive agencies in February “to lower regulatory burdens on the American people by implementing and enforcing regulatory reform.”

The documents clarified students’ rights under two laws, according to the Post: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Disability Scoop reported that such guidance documents are “typically used by the Education Department to clarify how existing laws or regulations should be implemented in schools.”

In a statement to TPM, Education Department spokesperson Liz Hill said “There are no policy implications to these rescissions,” adding: “Students with disabilities and their advocates will see no impact on services provided.”

One of the more recent guidance documents rescinded on Oct. 2 clarified in 2012 that so-called “least restrictive environment” (LRE) requirements applied to pre-school students, as well.

LRE, codified in the Individuals with Disabilities Act, states that students with disabilities ought to be placed in the classroom setting that best meets their needs. The law aims to keep disabled students in classes with the general student population, including by utilizing supplementary aides and services.

The Department of Education said Tuesday that the 2012 “Dear Colleague” letter had been superseded by a more recent one, from 2016.

The Post reported Saturday that disability rights advocates were still analyzing the potential impact of the rescinded documents.

See the Department of Education’s stated “Reason for Rescinding” each of the 72 guidance documents below, in the rightmost column.

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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