No Meaningful Changes to Obligations of School Districts, Student Rights in Rescinding of 72 Guidance Documents by Trump Administration

Following Friday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education, first reported by Disability Scoop, that the Trump Administration is rescinding 72 federal guidance documents that they say are “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective,” many parents were understandably alarmed. This move came without warning or engagement with stakeholders.

We want to assure you that the laws and regulations that the guidance documents relate to are still in full force and effect. There has been absolutely no change in law.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act was originally drafted in 1970 and enacted in 1975. It has been ‘reauthorized’ several times, most recently in 2004. Each time it is reauthorized, the U.S. Department of Education promulgates new regulations for implementation of the updated laws. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services then issues so-called ‘guidance documents’ to explain and clarify these changes in plain language.

A number of these guidance documents have been issued over the years, and, as the Department of Education says, many have been replaced by new versions or are no longer in full force and effect due to changes in the law over time. A full list of the rescinded guidance documents is available here.

Yesterday, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), of which we are a member, released a statement on the rescinding of these guidance documents which expressed their disappointment in the process, saying:

…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.

Our office continues to stay abreast of changes to federal and state laws that may impact on your family. Stay subscribed to our email list to receive these important updates.