August 2nd, 2022

July Policy News Round-Up

New school discipline guidance is issued, the Office for Civil Rights released their FY 2021 annual report, disability advocates seek stronger Section 504 regulations, and NCLD joined the Committee for Education Funding to advocate for increased federal education funding. See how NCLD worked on behalf of students with disabilities this month.

Biden Administration Issues New School Discipline Guidance
On July 19, the Biden Administration issued new federal school discipline guidance, reinforcing critical civil rights obligations to ensure students with disabilities are protected and granted a free and appropriate education. The guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) recommends the use of evidence-based practices like positive behavioral interventions and critical steps to take to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability when disciplining students. Read more here.

NCLD applauded the Biden Administration for issuing this guidance and reiterating the importance of avoiding discriminatory use of school discipline.

Senate Introduces LHHS FY 2023 Appropriations Bill
On July 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee introduced the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS), Education and Related Agencies funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. The bill provides $216.1 billion in discretionary funding, a $221 million increase in funds from the FY 2022 legislative budget.

Within the Department of Education, the bill allocates $49 billion towards federal K-12 education programs, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), marking a $5.5 billion (13%) increase from FY 2022. Specifically, the bill includes $15.3 billion — a $1.98 billion increase — for IDEA Part B Grants to States. See further funding breakdowns below:

NCLD applauds the Committee for recommending a sustained investment of Learning Disabilities Research Centers and Learning Disabilities Innovation Hubs in report language. The Committee highlights the need for clinical research of brain-based learning disorders, particularly as COVID-19 led to significant loss of in-person learning which adversely affected students with disabilities.

The Office for Civil Rights Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report
On July 25, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released their annual report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, summarizing enforcement actions of civil rights laws. Of the 4,870 complaints alleging violations of disability laws — including Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act — 4,417 (90%) were resolved by OCR over the course of FY 2021. Of all Section 504 and Title II complaints received, 42% were in response to violations of free and appropriate public education for students and 25% were in response to different treatment, exclusion and denial of benefits.

The report also highlights policy guidance issued, as well as outreach and collaborative efforts on the civil rights of students in educational settings.

Disability Advocates Seek Stronger Section 504 Regulations
36 disability rights organizations, including NCLD, shared recommendations on improving current regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In these recommendations,  NCLD and partners urged better alignment between Section 504, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in both K-12 and higher education settings. See here for the full letter.

NCLD Participates in CEF Hill Day
On July 17th, NCLD joined Committee for Education Funding (CEF) partners on Capitol Hill to advocate for an increase in federal education funding. CEF members from organizations in the education community met with over 40 congressional offices in the House and Senate. Education funding is currently only allocated 2% of the federal budget: read more here.

In Case You Missed It

  • On July 5, the Biden-Harris Administration launched the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS), an effort to help students recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic aiming to recruit and train an additional 250,000 Americans to serve as tutors, student coaches, and high quality mentors. A coalition of education groups and non profit organizations announced their support for the program. Read more here.
  • The Institute for Education Sciences allocated $14 million in research grants to help students with disabilities who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Author: Rachel Lit, NCLD Intern. Rachel Lit is a rising sophomore at Stanford University.

The Latest From NCLD

See what NCLD has been advocating for and get the most recent news on learning and attention issues.

Join the NCLD movement