Department of Education Withdraws Outdated Subregulatory Guidance

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US Department of Education

October 27, 2017
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or

Department of Education Withdraws Outdated Subregulatory Guidance

WASHINGTON— As part of the ongoing Administration-wide effort to reduce the regulatory burden on Americans, today the Department of Education announced it will withdraw nearly 600 out-of-date pieces of subregulatory guidance on its books.  Each item has been either superseded by current law or is no longer in effect. Removing these out-of-date materials will make it easier for schools, educators, parents and the public to understand what guidance is still in effect.

Appointed on April 25, 2017, the Department’s Regulatory Reform Task Force, composed of career and non-career employees, has analyzed Department regulations and policy guidance for possible repeal, modification or replacement over the last six months. As part of this review, which involved attorneys from the Department’s Office of General Counsel, the Task Force identified hundreds of subregulatory documents that are ready for withdrawal due to being superseded by current law or simply out-of-date.

As part of its review, the Task Force has directed Principal Offices in the Department to conduct stakeholder outreach to solicit input on regulations and guidance that are ready for repeal, replacement or modification. The Department also sought public input through a request for comments in the Federal Register and received 16,391 comments by the time the 90 day comment period closed on September 20, 2017. These comments are currently under study by the Task Force.

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)

Outreach: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos convened a listening session on October 2, 2017, with education policy and thought leaders who individually presented views on the topic of regulatory relief for State educational agencies, local school districts, schools, teachers and administrators. The Department also sought and received input from a cross-section of stakeholder groups including, but not limited to, The School Superintendents Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, Council of the Great City Schools, Education Trust, Interstate Migrant Education Council, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, National Governors Association, National Indian Education Association, National Indian Impacted Schools Association, National Title I Association, and United Parent Leaders Action Network. 

Action: From 228 guidance documents, OESE has identified 97 out-of-date guidance documents for withdrawal.

Examples of OESE guidance documents being withdrawn include those relating to the 1994 amendments to the ESEA (Cross-Cutting Guidance to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), to long ago appropriations (Guidance on the FY 2000 Appropriation for School Improvement), to grant programs that no longer exist (Gulf Coast Recovery Grant Initiative), and to policy letters to States under NCLB (NCLB Policy Letters to States—Use of Funds for Districts and Schools Identified for School Improvement).

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

Outreach: OSERS hosted more than 1,000 people at its Annual Leadership Conference on July 17-19, 2017, where attendees were provided three opportunities to provide feedback on the regulatory reform process.  On September 11, 2017, OSERS conduced an on-site meeting with more than 60 organizations representing parents, disability advocates, civil rights groups and education associations. During monthly and quarterly phone calls, OSERS also alerted State Directors of Special Education, State Part C Coordinators for Early Intervention, and members of the Council of State Administrators for Vocational Rehabilitation to the opportunity to submit comments on regulatory reform. OSERS also conducted a stakeholders call open to the public on October 24, 2017, concerning the superseded, out-of-date guidance that it intends to withdraw.

Action:  Out of 169 documents, OSERS identified 72 out-of-date guidance documents for withdrawal. 

Examples include guidance going back to the early 1980s, such as OSEP’s Informal Letter to Chief State School Officers on Data Submissions Due During FY 1983 or those superseded by statute or regulation (like OSEP’s May 4, 2000 Memo 00-14 Qs & As on Obligations of Public Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by their Parents in Private Schools). 

Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)

Outreach: OPE held two public hearings (at Salt Lake Community College in Sandy, UT, on September 26 and at the Department of Education, Washington, DC, on October 4).

Action: Out of 1,171 documents, OPE has identified 398 out-of-date guidance documents for withdrawal. OPE will archive these materials in the coming months.  

Examples include many guidance documents dating back to 1994, such as those relating to closed invitations for Experimental Site Initiatives (such as GEN 13-21, Invitation to Participate in the Experimental Sites Initiative) and historical occurrences, like the flooding that occurred in 1997 in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, the Office of Innovation and Improvement, and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer conducted similar outreach efforts and are also withdrawing out-of-date guidance documents.

For a look at the Regulatory Reform Task Force’s full report and a list of out-of-date subregulatory guidance by POC, click here.