No Cause For Pain

Experts say DoE’s guidance changes do not have policy implications

Following a brief window of panic early in October, parents of young students with disabilities can breathe more easily, according to legal experts.

The Department of Education announced Oct. 20 it rescinded 72 guidance documents the department termed “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective” related to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The announcement caused immediate concern among families of special-needs children and disability advocate groups because of the department’s lack of more detailed explanation.

In the weeks since, disability advocacy groups have analyzed the rescinded documents and concluded they are all outdated, unnecessary or superseded. For now, the key concern left seems to be the need for transparency from the Department of Education.

“It doesn’t really change the equation,” said Jack Robinson, a special education attorney and partner at Spies Powers & Robinson. “I think that more of the outrage was with … just the way that [the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services] went about it.” Although the Department of Education provided clarification on the guidance changes a few days after its initial announcement, the changes actually went into effect Oct. 2, meaning the department did not announce them until more than two weeks later.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the November 6, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.