ED Rescinds Nearly 600 Outdated Guidance Documents

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced today that it will rescind nearly 600 guidance documents across the agency for being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.


ED first announced last Friday its decision to withdraw 72 guidance documents related specifically to special education.  ED’s actions immediately saw backlash from special education advocates, as well as Congressional members.  Early this week, ED provided additional information on its decision to withdraw the guidance documents and released a chart describing the reason each document was rescinded.


Nearly half of the documents were issued in the 1980s and 1990s, making them outdated, and a majority of the others have been superseded by newer guidance or regulation.  In addition, other guidance was rescinded because it was targeted at a specific issue that is no longer relevant, such as how to use funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


“There are no policy implications to these rescissions,” ED spokeswoman Liz Hill said.  “Students with disabilities and their advocates will see no impact on services provided.”


ED’s press release today included a more comprehensive list of documents than the special education-specific guidance announced last week and outlined the actions ED has taken over the past few months to solicit public comment on this issue.  Same as the special education documents, this additional guidance identified for withdrawal is simply outdated or superseded by more recent guidance and regulations.  No substantive policy changes were made by the withdrawals.


ED’s actions are part of its efforts to comply with an executive order issued by the White House earlier this year to reduce regulatory burden.  The guidance was identified for rescission by ED’s Regulatory Reform Task Force, which was assembled in April and includes career and non-career employees from the Department.


The task force’s full status report identifying each piece of guidance being withdrawn is available here.


Resources: Christina Samuels, “Ed. Dept. Sweeps Away Old Special Education Guidance and Regulations,” Education Week: On Special Education, October 20, 2017. Christina Samuels, “Ed. Dept. Explains Special Education Guidance Cutbacks After Outcry,” Education Week: On Special Education, October 24, 2017. Education Department Press Release, “Department of Education Withdraws Outdated Subregulatory Guidance,” October 27, 2017.


Author: KSC

About the Author

Kelly Christiansen is an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC. Established in 1980, the Firm is nationally recognized for its federal education regulatory and legislative practice, providing legal advice regarding compliance with all major federal education programs as well as the federal grants management requirements, including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). In addition, they work with agencies on federal spending flexibility, allowability, policies and procedures, audit defense and resolution and legislative updates. The Firm provides government relations services for the National Title I Association.