Special-Education Rule Issued by Obama Administration Is Delayed

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is proposing delaying a rule finalized late in the Obama administration aimed at preventing the overrepresentation of minorities in special education. (U.S. Department of Education/Flickr)

The Trump administration is officially proceeding with plans to delay an Obama-era rule that aimed to ensure students from certain backgrounds aren’t wrongly placed in special education.

The U.S. Department of Education is issuing a notice in the Federal Register on Tuesday proposing a two-year delay of the so-called “significant disproportionality” rule, which was finalized in the closing weeks of the Obama administration.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires states to flag school districts with high rates of students from particular racial or ethnic groups identified as having disabilities, placed in restrictive settings, or subjected to discipline.

However, states have traditionally used different measures and the Obama administration claimed that as a result few schools were ever identified.

The rule, which is slated to take effect July 1, sought to establish a national standard.

But by last fall, news surfaced that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team were eyeing the regulation for further review under an executive order from President Donald Trump requiring all federal agencies to identify regulations for “repeal, replacement or modification.” As of December, the Education Department began moving to delay the rule’s implementation.