Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As Budget Cuts Loom, No One's in Charge of Special Education

Christina Samuels, who writes the "On Special Education" blog for Education Week, continues her good reporting on issues related to students with disabilities. Today she asks, "When Will We Have a New Federal Special Education Chief? (And Why It Matters)." Interestingly, she points out that four assistant secretaries for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) have been appointed during a president's first term. Those four were nominated during April to June and confirmed as early as June and as late as October.

The advocates who Christina has interviewed aren't concerned about the non-political staff who are involved in special education policy and operations. But with a proposed increase in defense spending and likely cuts in other areas, this vacancy could put special education programs in jeopardy. Katherine Beh Neas, vice president for government relations for Easterseals, told Samuels, "If you don't have a political person in place advocating for the political part of the functions of that department, it leaves the department at risk."

Read the EdWeek article, which also addresses potentially harmful changes to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And take a look at Christina's blog, On Special Education.

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