By: Wendy Tucker, Senior Director of Policy and Megan Ohlssen, Managing Director of Programs
In a huge victory for the disability advocacy community, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) prevailed earlier this month in a closely watched lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education. COPAA filed suit in July over Secretary DeVos’ decision to delay implementation of the Equity in IDEA regulations, which had been scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2018. Adopted in 2016 to address racial disparities in special education, the Equity in IDEA regulations will now immediately go into effect absent action by a higher court.
These regulations are a critical step in ensuring students are receiving the appropriate services and disrupting disproportionality, which is perpetuated in various forms:
The inappropriate identification of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education;
The underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in enrichment, gift and talented programs, and access to rigorous curricular materials; and
The excessive overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students involved in disciplinary actions
It’s imperative that we see greater accountability for states with significant racial disproportionality; oversight of these regulations is paramount. We look forward to working with our partners to build out of systems to support greater equity for all students.