Press Releases

CBC Criticizes Trump Administration Postponement of Obama-Era Regulation Addressing Racial Bias in Special Education

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Washington, July 17, 2018 | comments

Today, in a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Assistant Secretary of Education Johnny Collett, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) criticized the Trump Administration’s two-year-long postponement of an Obama-era regulation addressing racial bias in special education. 

The regulation was finalized by the Obama Administration on December 12, 2016 and established a standard approach that states must use to assess whether students of color are 1.) disproportionately identified for special education, 2.) disproportionately placed in more segregated settings, and 3.) disproportionately disciplined. 

The letter was signed by CBC Chairman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), CBC Education and Labor Task Force co-chairs Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL-07) and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09). 

“The assertion from the Department that significant disproportionality occurs for reasons other than race ignores both the overwhelming evidence base and the statutory intent and purpose of §618(d)…While poverty and race are intricately entangled due to our Nation’s history of oppression of people of color, decades of research concludes that race is a key factor in educational equity, including significant disproportionality in special education identification and school discipline.” 

“According to our internal review of comments submitted, approximately 83 percent of the comments opposed the proposed delay.  Notably, the Department failed to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of commenters opposed a delay.  Especially given the high response rate, it is questionable that the Department made no adjustments to the final rule in an effort to respond to or accommodate the vast majority of commenters who opposed the delay.”

Full text of the letter is attached and online.

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