IDEA 2004 REGULATION ACTION ALERT - COMMENTS DUE JULY 28!
The Advocacy Institute has issued comments and recommendations regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for IDEA Part B regulations. Two issues of importance to families and advocates addressed in this NPRM are (1) parent revocation of consent for special education services and (2) restrictions on the use by parents of lay (non-attorney) advocates in due process hearings. Both of these critical issues are discussed in the comments/recommendations of the Advocacy Institute, with which OCLB agrees - see http://www.advocacyinstitute.org/news/ . Public comments are due by July 28, and we encourage our readers to submit their own comments!
One point we would like to add is that the special education system is one with huge conflicts of interest built into it. It is a system in which schools self-refer, control the evaluation process, control observation of the child in the classroom, decide who is and isn't served and how they are served, use our tax dollars to defend their decisions, and these days some districts even have "value added" due process insurance (that doesn't cost extra money). So without checks and balances, the balance of power is tipped far in the direction of the schools.
For this reason, we agree with the provision allowing for parental revocation of consent, since it at least gives parents some measure of control, though we remain concerned about the effect of this provision if parents are not fully informed of the consequences of such revocation. Hence, the recommendations by the Advocacy Institute that informed consent be mandated.
We also agree with the Advocacy Institute that the proposed language regarding non-attorney advocates (potentially limiting their use by parents in due process hearings) should be stricken. Given the shortage of special education attorneys available to parents, and the prohibitive cost of such attorneys for many parents, any restrictions on parents' ability to utilize the services of lay advocates for due process hearings will serve to decrease parents' ability to enforce their children's IDEA rights through due process (which, unfortunately, is often the only way IDEA is enforced). So far, few public comments address this issue – if we can get enough comments opposing this provision (asking for the proposed language to be deleted), we can prevail, so please consider commenting on this!
Again, please take a look at the comments/recommendations submitted by the Advocacy Institute, and please submit your own comments by July 28! http://www.advocacyinstitute.org/news/Sandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
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