USDE Postpones State Compliance with Significant Disproportionality Regulations (August 22, 2018)

On August 15, 2018, Ann Hinkson-Herrmann, PDE’s Director of the Bureau of Special Education released a memo titled Postponement of Significant Disproportionality Regulations via PennLink informing recipients of the postponement of the December 2016 amended regulations to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) pertaining to significant disproportionality.  A copy of the memo can be viewed on the PAPSA website in the “Resources” section under “Downloads.” The final rule implementing this change can be found in the July 3, 2018 Federal Register notice.

Hinkson-Hermann explains that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has postponed by two (2) years the date for states to comply with the Equity in IDEA, or significant disproportionality regulations, from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2020.  The USDE also postponed the date for including children ages three (3) through five (5) in the analysis of significant disproportionality, with respect to the identification of children as children with disabilities and as children with an impairment, from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2022. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE) will be accepting the delay and will continue to provide support to the local educational agencies. Hinkson-Hermann goes on to say that delaying the implementation date does not disregard this important work and that PDE views the two-year delay as an opportunity for our statewide system of support, schools, and community stakeholders to study and work together to address the broad concerns surrounding the issue of, and the root cause of significant disproportionality.  In fact, during the 2018-19 school year, PDE/BSE will offer training and technical assistance for equitable practices in the areas of identification, least restrictive environment, and disciplinary removals for students with disabilities.  Please refer to the monthly calendar located on the PaTTAN website for training dates. Questions regarding this information should be posed to John Gombocz at jgombocz@pa.gov or 717-772-3745.