On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” which established a Federal policy “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens” on the American people. In accordance with the Executive Order, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) published a notice in the Federal Register on June 22, 2017, seeking input on regulations and guidance that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. The deadline for submitting input was September 20, 2017. CEC provided comment to the Department of Education. CEC’s position is the evaluation of existing regulations and guidance for the purpose of repeal, replacement or modification is unconventional and ill-advised. CEC is committed to the transparent process set forth by the Administrative Procedure Act which involves stakeholders.
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is currently reviewing regulations and guidance in phases, which includes analyzing the input submitted by the public. The first phase involved reviewing guidance that OSERS has published on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. OSERS evaluated the guidance to determine those that were outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective. At this time, OSERS has a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective—63 from the Office of Special Education Programs and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration.
After an initial review by CEC, it appeared that the 72 guidance documents were either outdated or unnecessary as there has been subsequent policy established either through the Reauthorization of IDEA, including the promulgation of regulations and guidance that supersedes the “outdated” policies. This was confirmed this week on an OSERS stakeholder call. Kimberly Richey, Acting Assistant Secretary of OSERS, shared there were “no substantive changes in policy” as a result of the rescission of the 72 guidance documents and the documents “were no longer relevant or used in the field.”
The second phase, which will occur over the next several months, will include the review and analysis of the approximately 16,000 comments the Department received and any recommendations for repeal, replacement or modification. CEC will continue to urge the U.S. Department of Education to be transparent throughout this process and abide by the Administrative Procedure Act. CEC fully supports IDEA and remains committed to the continuing successful implementation of this essential law, informed by federal rules and regulations and administrative guidance.