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USED Moves to Rescind Guidance & Dear Colleague Letters

  • The US Department of Education Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services has rescinded a list of 72 sets of guidance and Dear Colleague letters regarding IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act. While SPAN strongly opposed - and rightfully so - the process of review of thousands of guidances and Dear Colleague letters, it is not clear yet which of these 72 sets of guidance and Dear Colleague letters address issues that are not addressed in other (and perhaps more recent) documents, and which address issues that are no longer relevant (i.e., OSEP 1986 memo on the 12% limitation on handicapped children counted for allocation purposes).  

    SPAN is concerned about why the Dear Colleague letter on preschool LRE, which was relatively recent (2012), was withdrawn - but remember that the underlying preschool LRE regulations remain in full force and effect. We wonder why the one pager on parental consent for the use of public benefits or insurance (2013) was withdrawn - but remember that the underlying regulations regarding the use of parents' public benefits or insurance was not withdrawn and remains in full force and effect. And we are concerned about the withdrawal of the Dear Colleague letter to Chief State School Officers on Local Educational Agency Maintenance of Effort (2014) was withdrawn, but again note that the underlying regulations governing MOE remain in full force and effect.

    So there is cause for concern, but also cause for caution.  

    At this point, SPAN will wait until the national advocacy organizations complete their review and then target our response to the more recent guidance, like preschool LRE, as opposed to uniformly opposing all the rescissions, for example, of documents that were issued prior to the 2004 IDEA reauthorization. One might even say that there are documents on this list of 72 that are not that important or no longer relevant.

    As a member of National PLACE, which is a member of the CCD (Consortium for Ciitzens with Disabilities), SPAN will keep abreast of new developments on this issue and keep you informed.