The US Education Secretary Betsy ­DeVos seems to express her desire in delaying a rule from Obama’s era designed in order to protect kids of colour from unfair discipline or being sent over to special-ed classes disproportionately.

The Education Department Thursday published an online notice appearing to signal that I wish to postpone this rule, dubbed the “significant disproportionality rule”, for around two years, which indicates that rather than take full effect in 2018, it will be implemented in 2020.

In the meantime, DeVos may decide to remove the rule altogether.

“Through the regulatory review process, we’ve heard from states, school districts, super­intendents and other stakeholders on a wide range of issues, including the significant disproportionality rule,” Elizabeth Hill, a department spokeswoman said. “Because of the concerns raised, the department is looking closely at this rule and has determined that, while this review takes place, it is prudent to delay implementation for two years.”


The rule was drawn up near the conclusion of Obama’s administration, stemming from changes in 2004 to the US Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that governs special ed throughout school across America.

Congress wanted each state to track whether or not black students in special ed were more often than not removed from regular classrooms, or if Hispanic ­special-ed students were more prone to harsh discipline.

If states found problematic disparities in their schools, they may set aside special-ed funding to assist schools to improve.

In January, Obama’s administration implemented the rule, which clearly identified ways that states can identify the issue.

“This rule is important because we know and we have clear data that indicates that African American kids are not treated the same as other children in special education,” Diane Smith Howard, a staff attorney in the National Disability Rights Network, said.