WASHINGTON— Opposing any delay in the implementation of the Equity in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 38 civil rights groups sent a joint letter to the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. Today’s letter to OSERS’s assistant secretary, Johnny W. Collett, comes in response to the February 27 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the Federal Register regarding significant disproportionality in the identification, restrictive placement, and disciplining of children of color with disabilities.
The groups write:
“This issue is of particular interest to the civil and human rights community given our long struggle to ensure educational opportunity, full inclusion, and appropriate supports and services for children with disabilities, boys and girls of color, English learners, and Native American, low-income, and LGBTQ students. We recognize that often students are members of multiple communities and experience unlawful and unjust discrimination within the intersections of these identities. We are committed to the robust enforcement of our nation’s civil rights and education laws and the freedom from discrimination and access to educational opportunity that they provide.
“As parents, students, and advocates working to eliminate discriminatory practices that undermine equal educational opportunity, we know all too well that students of color are disproportionately misidentified for certain categories of special education, placed in restrictive learning environments at higher rates than their White peers with disabilities (where their outcomes are significantly worse than those of other students), and subjected to punitive discipline practices more often.
“We are reaching out to you, as advocates for children and their families, to express our continued support of the regulation that implements the IDEA’s significant disproportionality requirements and our opposition to any effort to delay implementation of this regulation.”
The letter can be read in its entirety here.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.