U.S. Department of Education proposes changes to special education regulations

On Tuesday, May 13, 2008, the U.S. Department of Education published proposed changes http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-10522.pdf to its special education regulations.  The Department seeks public comment on the proposed changes.  Details on how to submit comments are included with the announcement.

Among the proposed changes are new provisions to give a parent the right to unilaterally exit a child from special education.  The LEA would have no option or recourse, such as a due process hearing, to override the parent's decision. 

The Department also proposes to clarify its long-standing position on non-attorney representation at due process hearings.  The proposed changes state that whether parents can be represented by a non-attorney advocate would be determined by state law. 

Other proposed changes include amendments to subgrant funding processes, and state and local efforts regarding employment of highly qualified staff. 

The deadline to submit comments is July 28, 2008.