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Updates on Virginia's Special Education Regulations

Check this Page for News & Updates

Regulatory Process l Proposed Regulations l Governor's Review l Revision Process
Public Comments l Hearing Testimony l Position Statements l News

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07/07/09 Final Special Education Regulations, effective July 7, 2009, posted by VDOE.

05/19/09 Summary of Public Comments posted by VDOE

Public Forum Closed May 13!

Comment Today at the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall! (Comment period ends Wednesday, May 13.)

Read comments by the Fairfax County Council of PTAs (FCCPTA) on the final draft revision of the VA special education regulations.

Read comments from the Virginia Coalition for Students with Disabilities.

04/13/09 Final Regulations Published; Notice of Suspension of Regulatory Process

Virginia Register of Regulations published the proposed final State Special Education Regulations and the notice to suspend the process to allow for an additional thirty day public comment period.

The suspension is in response to requests from at least twenty-five people for an additional public comment period regarding those changes with substantial impact that were made to the regulations since they were published as proposed regulations.

The Virginia Department of Education will receive comments regarding 8VAC20-81 until 5 p.m. on May 13, 2009. 

Comments may be submitted by mail, facsimile, or e-mail.  All comments must include the name and contact information of the commenter.  Comments may be submitted by mail to: 

       Special Education Regulations Revision Process
       Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services
       Virginia Department of Education
       P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218-2120;

       by facsimile to (804) 786-8520;

       or by email to ReviseSpedRegs@doe.virginia.gov

For more information, contact: 

            Melissa Smith, Coordinator of Administrative Services
            Department of Education
            P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218-2120
            (804) 371-0524
            melissa.smith@doe.virginia.gov 

Final Adoption period is underway and will end on 5/13/09.

Townhall Open for CommentsPublic Forum In Progress! Comment Today at the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall!

VA town hall logoMake your voice heard!  This public comment forum allows all Virginia's citizens to participate in making and changing our state regulations. Comment Period closes 5/13/2009.

03/19/09 Gov Kaine Endorses Revised Special Education Regulations.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine today concluded his review of the State Board of Education’s proposed revisions to special education regulations. Governor Kaine's endorsement allows the revised regulations to advance to the final stages of the procedure defined by the Virginia Administrative Process Act.
Press Release l pdf format

Next step in the regulatory process is for the final draft of the Regulations to be posted on Town Hall and the Virginia Register.  This posting has not yet occurred.

Once published in the State Register a 30-day final adoption period starts.  At the end of this 30-day period the final draft Regulations become the final Regulations unless “If the agency receives requests from at least 25 persons for an opportunity to submit oral and written comments on the changes to the regulation, the agency shall (i) suspend the regulatory process for 30 days to solicit additional public comment and (ii) file notice of the additional 30-day public comment period with the Registrar of Regulations, unless the agency determines that the changes made are minor or inconsequential in their impact.”

NOTE from VDOE: New Virginia special education regulations will not become effective until after the completion of the process required by Virginia’s Administrative Process Act.

The next step in the process involves the Virginia Registrar's office publishing the draft regulations with VDOE's Notice announcing a 30-day public comment period.

We understand that the Virginia Registrar's publication date will be April 13, with May 13, 5:00 p.m., as the closure date and time for submission of public comment to VDOE. Directions for submission of public comment will be included in the Notice. Information will also be available at VDOE's web site:
http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/dueproc/regulationsCWD.html

Questions may be directed to: Dr. Judith Douglas, Director, Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services, at 804-225-2013; or email: judy.douglas@doe.virginia.gov

12/01/08 Alert! Call to Action! Contact VA Governor Tim Kaine TODAY! To retain essential rights for children & parents, we need a landslide of calls, letters & email - before December 10th.

11/24/08 Question Governor Kaine directly on "Ask the Governor." Final Revision of the VA Regs Comes Down to the Wire!

10/28/08 Update on Governor Kaine's Expected Actions on the Final Regulations. Question him directly on "Ask the Governor."

Read a summary of parental concerns

09/25/08 Virginia Board of Education adopts the final Special Education Regulations.  The Regulations as published last week were adopted as final regulations this morning. The Board made one revision - to expand the definition of DD up to the age of six. The next step in the regulatory process is for the final regulations to be published in the State Register, probably on October 27.  There may be an additional 30-day public comment period. Related news

09/19/08 VDOE posts changes to the proposed Special Education Regulations. Final Review of the Proposed Revisions to the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (8 VAC 20-81-10 et seq.)

09/18/08 VDOE's releases Summary of the Public Comment (pdf) on the proposed regulations.

09/11/08 Special Ed Regulation Changes: Under Pressure, State Withdraws Two Special Education Proposals

Board Hears Special Ed ConcernsThe state board says they are listening. To date, the board has already received a record breaking 38,000 comments about their proposals.  Comments that Virginia Schools Superintendent Billy Cannaday says they are considering. "We're trying to balance the protection for children and families with also the increased accountability for student's learning" he stated.
Read more...

The state board is expected to release their final proposal next Friday and then have another 30 day comment period before they vote on it.

09/09/08 Speaker of the House, William Howell Remains Concerned about Proposed Changes to the Regulations

Speaker Howell's Letter to Virginia Board of Education President, Dr. Mark Emblidge

"I am pleased to hear that members of the Board have expressed support for preserving current regulations regarding parental consent, parental input, due process hearing officers and IEP requirements. Keeping these elements of our current regulations intact will enable Virginia to continue to serve her most vulnerable students and their families at the level of quality we have come to expect in the Commonwealth.

I understand that the remaining proposed revisions are still under consideration by the Board. Several of my colleagues and I continue to harbor concerns."

07/24/08 Resolution by Fairfax County School Board Supporting Parental Consent Rights

Thursday, July 24th, the Fairfax County School Board (Regular Meeting: Action Item 4.03) voted 12-0 to pass the Alexandria City School Board resolution supporting parental consent rights.  With 167,000 students and almost 25,000 receiving special ed services, the Fairfax County School Board represents the largest school district in VA.

Podcast of Resolution discussion & action Podcast of Resolution discussion & action

Resolution in pdf l word

07/18/08 State Board of Education

Special-education advocates are taking comfort in Virginia Board of Education members' remarks about proposed changes to the state's special-education regulations. Letters seek to ease parents' ire. Read more.

Letter to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine

"I want to assure you that Board members have heard your concerns and those of parents throughout the Commonwealth and that the retention of current requirements regarding the two areas cited above will be of the highest priority in the final determination process."

Letter to Speaker of the House, William Howell

"I want to assure you that the Board has listened very carefully to the voices of Virginia citizens. Retaining the current requirements of the issues noted above and making certain that parental involvement is not curtailed will be of high priority as we continue the process to finalize these regulations."

07/17/08 State Board of Education Meeting

Parents spoke, and the state Board of Education listened. At their monthly meeting Thursday, several board members said they have concerns with proposed special education rule changes that could reduce the rights of parents. More

07/13/08 Update: What Happens Next?

The Virginia Department of Education will revise their proposed regulations in response to the public comments they received. They plan to publish their revised proposed regulations at the Virginia Board of Education meeting on September 25, 2008.

Depending on how the draft regulations are revised, we may need to call on you for help again.

In July, advocates who are knowledgeable about the Virginia regulations need to meet with VDOE staff, articulate our concerns, and provide guidance about language in the regulations.

Advocates should plan to attend the Board of Education meeting on July 17 to reinforce our concerns and strength. Advocates can also use the summer months to continue building our base of parents who understand the issues and who are willing to take action when the time comes this fall.

During the summer, parents need to get to know one another and strengthen relationships. If we spend this time getting stronger, when we see the next draft of the proposed regulations in September, we will be able to work together to do what needs to be done.

We need to be prepared to act quickly after the Board meeting on September 25, when the Board will act on the next draft of the regulations.

Advice from Miss Manners

Some people find it hard to be patient through this long process. Emotions can be an asset or a liability. Use your emotions as a source of energy and determination.

It is essential that the decision-makers view parents and advocates as rational, reasonable and right. If we are viewed as demanding, unreasonable, offensive, rude, negative, unpredictable, or overly emotional, we will lose our credibility and our momentum.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

06/29/08 Update: Letter from Representative Bill Howell, Speaker of the House

In a letter written on June 29, 2008, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Bill Howell, expressed serious concerns about the proposed regulations in a letter he wrote to Thomas Morris, Virginia's Secretary of Education, with a copy to Governor Kaine.

Rep. Howell began by saying:

"It is with great concern that I contact you regarding the proposed revisions to the Regulations Governing Special Education Services for Students with Disabilities in Virginia. After extensive review, I believe the majority of the proposed changes provide little benefit yet have the potential to greatly diminish the rights and protections of many students served in Virginia schools.

"A number of the proposed revisions remove the provision of parental consent and parental input, a hallmark of the Commonwealth’s services that has set us apart as a leader in the field of special education. Family involvement is a crucial component in assuring that the most effective services are implemented for each child and that he or she has the optimal opportunity for success in the classroom. I request that the current provisions for parental consent and parental input remain intact throughout the regulations ..."

He lists other proposed changes and why he opposes them. This includes the proposal to limit the Developmental Delay to kids younger than 5.

Rep. Howell concludes by saying:

"After informal discussions on this subject with leaders in the House of Delegates, I have referred this matter to the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules. Members of the Commission have already begun to review the proposed revisions to the regulations and those I have spoken with share my concerns. Preferably, we would like to address these issues during the promulgation process and avoid making corrections via legislation. However, we are prepared to utilize the latter course of action if necessary.

Click here to view the letter from House Speaker Powell. URL is:
http://www.wrightslaw.com/virginia/ltr.08.0629.from.Howell.to.Morris.pdf



Parents and Advocates for Children with Disabilities in Virginia - your voices were heard.
The battle is not over yet.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Public Comment Period ended on June 30, 2008.

The Town Hall Forum closed on June 30, 2008, but the comments submitted are still available for viewing.

VA town hall logoMake your voice heard!  This public comment forum allows all Virginia's citizens to participate in making and changing our state regulations.

In the proposed changes to the regulations, VDOE proposes to eliminate parental consent in some cases, and further erode parental rights. Other proposed changes will affect procedural safeguards, eligibility criteria, definition of developmental disabilities, and accountability.

This is a time when it's important for parents and other stakeholders to get involved and make their desires known. It is often very difficult to get people to become involved in this process. Many people feel it will not matter to them. Others fear it will take more time from their busy lives.

If adopted, these changes could be a major loss, decreasing the school-family partnership intended by IDEA.

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) published their new proposed Special Education Regulations (8VAC20-80/81) in The Virginia Register of Regulations (Volume 24, Issue 17) on April 28, 2008.

A Superintendent’s Memorandum was issued on April 25, 2008.

Publication of the proposed regs initiated the 60-day public comment period, which will last from April 28, 2008 through June 30, 2008.  During that time period, the Virginia Department of Education is accepting written public comments regarding the proposed revisions, and nine public hearings were convened. 

Information about the public hearings and submitting written comment appears below.

The Regulatory Process in Virginia

During regulatory review process, Governor Kaine reviewed the proposed changes to the current special education regulations and expressed his concerns to the Virginia Board of Education.

Adoption, Appeal, and Repeal of Regulations. If the Governor chooses to comment on the proposed regulation, his comments must be transmitted to the agency and the Registrar no later than 15 days following the completion of the 60-day public comment period. The Governor’s comments, if any, will be published in the Virginia Register. Not less than 15 days following the completion of the 60-day public comment period, the agency may adopt the proposed regulation.

When final action is taken, the agency again publishes the text of the regulation as adopted, highlighting all changes made to the proposed regulation and explaining any substantial changes made since publication of the proposal. A 30-day final adoption period begins upon final publication in the Virginia Register.

The Governor may review the final regulation during this time and, if he objects, forward his objection to the Registrar and the agency.

The Governor’s objection or suspension of the regulation, or both, will be published in the Virginia Register. If the Governor finds that changes made to the proposed regulation have substantial impact, he may require the agency to provide an additional 30-day public comment period on the changes. Notice of the additional public comment period required by the Governor will be published in the Virginia Register.

The agency shall suspend the regulatory process for 30 days when it receives requests from 25 or more individuals to solicit additional public comment, unless the agency determines that the changes have minor or inconsequential impact.

A regulation becomes effective at the conclusion of the 30-day final adoption period, or at any other later date specified by the promulgating agency, unless there is action under the authority of the General Assembly or Governor.

Proposed regulatory action may be withdrawn by the promulgating agency at any time before the regulation becomes final.

VA requires that five days before the Board of Ed takes final action on the regulations, a summary of all public comment and the VDOE's response to the comments must be provided to each person who submitted public comment. 

Proposed Regulations

Regulations Governing Special Education for Children with Disabilities in Virginia

Proposed Regulations (8VAC20-80/81) published in 2 column format by the Virginia Register of Regulations (Volume 24, Issue 17) April 28, 2008. word format l pdf format

The original 315 page "Draft" proposed regulations as reformatted by Pete Wright into a 91 page file.    word format l pdf format

A draft of the Proposed Regulations is available on the Virginia Department of Education’s Web site.

Copies of these regulations, including Braille copies, audio tapes, and large print versions are available at no cost from the Virginia Department of Education. Please forward your request to the Virginia Department of Education, P. O. Box 2120, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120, or by calling 1-800-229-3820. TDD toll free phone: 1-800-422-1098.

Side by Side Comparison of current VA Regulations and proposed VA Regulations.

Additional Information

Comparison of State Timelines for an Initial Evaluation Under the IDEA.  The VA timeline ranks as one of the longest.  The timeline in the proposed regulations would start at parental consent, NOT from the date of referral. See Side by Side Comparison of current and proposed regulations.  

Governor's Review

From the Governor's DeskPreliminary Review:
Governor Kaine Expresses Concerns about Eliminating Parental Involvement

March 21, 2008
Memorandum

To: Members of Virginia State Board of Education

From: Governor Timothy M. Kaine

Subject: Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities

I have reviewed the proposed regulation on a preliminary basis. While I reserve the right to take action under the Administrative Process Act during the final adoption period, I approve the advancement of this regulation to the next stage for the purpose of soliciting public comment. however, I would like to express some concerns that I have -- concerns that parents across the Commonwealth have shared with me.

Virginia has long been a leader in the area of parental consent and involvement in the special education process. I have concerns about proposals in this regulation that reduce parental involvement in key decisions made about their children. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Elimination of parental consent prior to partial or complete termination of or changes to special education and related services.

2. Elimination of parental consent before providing special education services for transfer students.

3. Removal of parents from the Functional Behavioral Assessment team.

4. Addition of an option for the Local Education Agency to refuse a parent’s request for an Individualized Education Plan meeting if the LEA considers the request unreasonable.

5. Reduction in the number of regular progress reports given to parents on their child’s Individualized Education Plan.

I do not currently see any circumstances under which I would approve a final regulation reducing parental involvement in these ways.

I urge the Board of Education to take this and other public comments into account regarding these provisions and to act accordingly prior to submitting a final regulation for my approval.

Timothy M. Kaine, Governor
Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 786-2211
TTY (800) 828-1120
www.governor.virginia.gov

February 26, 2008

Governor Kaine's statements about the proposed regs on WTOP's (metro DC) program "Ask the Governor", Tuesday, Feb. 26th, 2008. 

This MP3 file contains the entire program (1 hour). The portion on the VA Special Education Regulations is from minute 15:30 - 18:30

On the program Kaine said the following:

“I am communicating back to the Dept. of Education and State Board that anything that would reduce parental involvement in these key decisions, I am not inclined to, unless there is some incredibly persuasive explanation about why the reg needs to be changed and the level of parental involvement needs to be changed, as of yet I have not been persuaded that it does need to be changed, and unless I can be persuaded that the current procedure and ability for parents to participate is not a good thing, I’m going to insist that parents continue to have full ability.”

“These special ed rules are complex and I think that there are some reason why School Boards, in particular, would like to have the procedure be a little bit easier on them, and I can understand some of those reasons, but the notion that we make it easier on the School Boards by making it easier to do things without parental involvement – Nah, you know, that’s just a nonstarter.  So, again, as of now, unless there is some very persuasive reason to diminish the role of parents in these decisions, we’re going back to the drawing board on that reg.”

Revision Process

VDOE webpage about The Revision Process. This page will be updated periodically to provide critical information as the revision process moves forward.

The resource documents on the revision page should be updated on a regular basis, especially the Timeline and Checklist. Once scheduled, the site will also provide information about where the public hearings will be held.

You can also access the revision website by going through VDOE's Division of Special Education and Student Services webpage.

Another way is to enter "revision of Virginia special education" in the Google search box on your internet browser. VDOE Revision Process page usually will be listed first in the search results.

Public Comments

The first round of public comment known as the Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) is the initial step in the regulatory process which includes a 30 day comment period on what the public wants in the Regulations.

After publication of the new proposed Special Education Regulations in The Virginia Register of Regulations on April 28, 2008, the dates of the official public comment period will be from April 28, 2008 through June 30, 2008.

During that time period, the Virginia Department of Education will accept written public comments regarding the proposed revisions, and nine public hearings have been held. 

VDOE is accepting and processing public comments now.

VA Town Hall logoVirginia Regulatory Town Hall is a comprehensive source of information about regulatory changes under consideration in Virginia. You can find regulations, track proposed changes, and read the action summary of the revision of the regulations. You can submit on-line comments about regulatory changes and read comments from others. It's time to make your voice heard! Comment period ends 06/30/08.

VA requires that five days before the Board of Ed takes final action on the regulations, a summary of all public comment and the VDOE's response to the comments must be provided to each person who submitted public comment. Five days is all the time available for parents to organize a response if the changes we have sought aren't made.

Points of Contact

Virginia GovernmentThe proposed changes are being considered by Governor Tim Kaine. To comment on them, email Governor Kaine at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm

or tkaine@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Kaine will take questions from the public in a series of statewide town hall meetings beginning on Monday, March 10 through the reconvened session, to discuss the budget and legislation passed during the 2008 General Assembly Session. No sign-in is required to attend or ask questions. All town hall meetings are open to the public and media. Schedule of town hall meetings

Written comments regarding the revision of the Virginia Regulations may be submitted to VA Department of Education via one the methods outlined below.

Special Education Regulations Revision Process
Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services
Virginia Department of Education
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120

Names and addresses of the VA Board of Education members.

The Public Hearings began on May 12 and ended on June 4.

Hearing Testimony

On June 3, 2008, at the Tappahannock hearing, Pete Wright addressed Virginia's desire, in proposed regulation 81-210, to take over the selection and appointment of Hearing Officers. He also attacked Virginia's attempt to have the right to edit the Hearing Officer's written decision. Pete explained that these proposed revisions are akin to the asking the fox to guard the chicken coop. Click here to see his written submission.

Hearing testimony from Sue Sargeant (June 3, 2008). In Virginia we do the right thing for our children with disabilities. We have worked in the Commonwealth for decades to build successful partnerships with parents in the special educational planning process.The Virginia way is to go above and beyond and Governor Kaine is right there with us too with “Virginia Leading the Way”. We, service providers, parents and advocates are not going to let some central office desk administrators create division in these partnerships.

Additional Hearing Testimony and Public Comments

Position Statements

VA Coalition for Students with Disabilities Public Comment, Recommendations, and Justification on Proposed Special Education Regulations. (May 2008)

VA Office for Protection and Advocacy. VOPA's Comments Executive Summary. May 20, 2008. We are alarmed by the way the proposed Regulations restrict parental and child rights; indeed, in some areas, the Regulations completely remove rights. VOPA urges that VDOE to review these comments and revise their Regulations to foster and protect the rights children and parents are given in federal law and the current state regulations. Word format

JustChildren - Speak Up to Protect Parent Involvement. Platform on the proposed changes to VA Special Education Regulations. Side-by-side review of the draft regulations. Comments to VDOE (April 28, 2008)

The Arc of Virginia - Comments April 30, 2008. How to Write a Public Comment.

Take Action! Find out what you can do to help - from the Arc of Virginia. Speak Up to Protect Family Involvement and Help Students with Disabilities Succeed!

CHADD logo

ACTION ALERT! CHADD - Virginia Parents of Children with AD/HD

If your child has AD/HD and attends a public school in Virginia, your right as a parent to have a say in his or her success in school may be in danger. We need you to act now. CHADD opposes these recommendations, as do many other parent and disability groups. Virginia's Governor Tim Kaine has also voiced opposition to the proposals.

Send Comments in Writing Opposing the Changes. What Do I Say? See CHADD's draft set of comments by clicking here.

The Executive Board of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs (FCCPTA) public comments to VDOE on the proposed regulations (February 04, 2008). 

Side by side comparison with FCCPTA Comments

The Virginia Coalition of Students with Disabilities is disappointed with the proposed revisions to the Regulations Governing Special Education Services for Students with Disabilities in Virginia. The initial assessment of the proposed revisions reveals that few of the changes would provide benefit to students with disabilities or their families. In fact, the proposed revisions significantly reduce critical protections and rights of many students.(September 26, 2007)

The Virginia Coalition of Students with Disabilities submitted public comment in response to the NOIRA for the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia. (02/23/07)

Coalition Platform on the Draft Special Education Regulations

In the News

Washington PostState Board Revises Rules, Eases Some Controversies. The Virginia State Board of Education approved revisions to special education rules yesterday that omitted two proposals that parents of disabled students had said would severely restrict their rights. But some parents said they are still worried about the state's procedures for evaluating children with special needs. Washington Post (September 26, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Richmond Times Dispatch at Rich.comBoard OKs Special Education Changes. Despite pleas from some groups to postpone a vote, the Virginia Board of Education revised the state's regulations for special-education students yesterday, advancing a plan stripped of the proposals that were the most unpopular among parents and politicians. Richmond Times Dispatch (September 26, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

WSVA 550Board Revises Special Ed Rule Changes. The state Board of Education has revised special-education regulations, but they no longer include two contentious proposals opposed by parents of students with disabilities.WSVA News Radio Online 550 (September 25, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

NBC TV29Special Ed Regulation Changes. The state board says they are listening. To date, the board has already received a record breaking 38,000 comments about their proposals.  Comments that Virginia Schools Superintendent Billy Cannaday says they are considering. "We're trying to balance the protection for children and families with also the increased accountability for student's learning" he stated.

The state board is expected to release their final proposal next Friday and then have another 30 day comment period before they vote on it. NBC TV 29 (September 11, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Richmond Times Dispatch at Rich.comUnder pressure, state withdraws two special education proposals. Under pressure from politicians and thousands of parents of special education students, the state Department of Education has backed down from a proposed rules change that would limit parental consent for ending special education services. Richmond Times Dispatch (September 11, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Richmond Times Dispatch at Rich.com Letter seeks to ease parents' ire. Special-education advocates are taking comfort in Virginia Board of Education members' remarks about proposed changes to the state's special-education regulations. Emblidge notes concerns expressed by parents of special-needs students. Richmond Times Dispatch (July 31, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Pilot OnlineState Board Members Hesitate Over Special Ed Proposal. Parents spoke, and the state Board of Education listened. At their monthly meeting Thursday, several board members said they have concerns with proposed special education rule changes that could reduce the rights of parents. "Parental consent and parental involvement are important," said board vice president Ella Ward of Chesapeake. "We listened. We heard. And we're about to act." (July 17, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Fredericksburg.comSpotsy Changes Special-Ed Designations. Starting this fall, Spotsylvania County schools will no longer classify students ages 5 to 8 as developmentally delayed. Sue Sargeant, a speech therapist for the school division and an officer of The Arc of Rappahannock, says putting children into "hard" labels, such as learning disability or autism, will lower expectations. Fredericksburg.com - School Zone (June 18, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Click here to submit a letter to the editor Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star

Special-ed Parents' Wings Trimmed by VDOE Proposal. The Virginia Department of Education's Special Education Draft Regulations will make major cuts to parents' rights to partner with schools in their child's education. The proposal removes the parental requirement for partial or full termination of special education or related services. Word format l Pdf format

Adriana LongChild Left Behind: The Story of Adriana Long Virginia’s Board of Education is considering a major overhaul of its special education regulations that may fundamentally alter the rights of parents like Anna Long. If adopted, the new rules allow localities to, at the extreme, remove all special education services from a child without parental consent. Style Weekly (June 11, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Proposed State Special-Education Plan Decried. Tia Marsili testified before hundreds of teachers, supporters and champions of children with disabilities at a public hearing at Oakton High School last Monday. The Virginia State Board of Education will make its determination on the changes this fall. Even Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has weighed in, opposing some of the reductions in parental consent requirements. Fairfax County Times. (June 5, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Parents, Advocates Oppose Special Education Changes. The speakers changed every three minutes, but with few exceptions their message Wednesday night was the same: The proposed changes to the state special education regulations are flawed and harmful. (May 29, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Richmond Times Dispatch at Rich.com Proposed Special-education Changes Spark Parent Protests. Powhatan County mother Cas Schirra pleaded with Virginia Board of Education members Tuesday night at the hearing at Clover Hill High School, urging them not to make changes to the state's special-education regulations that will decrease parental involvement. Richmond Times Dispatch (May 28, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Yasmine Harrison swings at her homeSpecial Education Controversy. Consent would NOT be required for cessation of services and determining services for transfers. Greta Harrison and other parents and advocates for the disabled are worried about proposed changes that would reduce parents' roles in several key special education decisions, including the termination of services for their children. Newport News Daily Press (May 27, 2008) Word format l Pdf format

Susanne Conroy helping son Heath with homeworkParents Want To Retain Involvement In Special-Needs Education by Debra McCown, Bristol Herald Courier from TriCities.com (May 11, 2008) word l pdf

Proposal Limits Progress Reports. The most controversial proposal would give schools more leeway to suspend certain special services for students, such as speech or occupational health therapy. Washington Post (May 9, 2008) word l pdf

Proposed Special-ed Changes Opposed. Some fear a plan to revise state regulations would reduce input from parents. Richmond Times Dispatch (May 5, 2008) word l pdf

WUSA News logoMore Power for Schools, Less for Parents "9 News Now" Video from WUSA9.com (April 22, 2008)

Proposed Changes Anger Parents Virginia Spotlight with Peggy Fox on WUSA9.com (April 22, 2008)

Parents of Special Ed Children Oppose Changing the Consent Rule by Ian Shapira. Washington Post (April 22, 2008) Download article (pdf)

Changing the Rules of Special Education in Virginia by Emily Suski. (Special to the Herald Courier, March 2, 2008) Download article (pdf)

Stop Virginia's Proposed Erosion of Parental Rights

J. Todd Foster, managing editor of the Bristol Herald Courier, wrote this editorial (02/10/08). Read about his young son, Tyler, and how his parents fought for the services he needed. And now...

"Quietly under the public’s radar, changes have been brewing with Virginia’s special-education rules. It’s a complicated issue with a labyrinth of bureaucratic red tape and jargon, but the upshot is that the state Board of Education soon will consider removing parents from a vital part of the special-education process."

Bristol Herald Courier/www.tricities.com l download editorial (pdf)

How Can You Make a Difference?

Input from families, students, service providers will be critical in ensuring that the draft regulations are not adopted as they are currently written. The Board of Education needs to hear that families and students need these rights to be maintained.

How? You can submit your comments (and read comments submitted by others) at the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, a nifty, user-friendly site:

http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/l/comments.cfm?stageid=4353

On that Town Hall page, you will see two red bullets adjacent to "Enter a Comment" and the other next to "View all Comments on one page."

You may also submit your comments about the proposed regulations to the VA Department of Education by fax at (804) 786-8520 or by email to:

ReviseSpedRegs@doe.virginia.gov

What Do I Say? There is no special format. Simply note your concerns. Reading the other comments on the Town Hall may help you formulate your own thoughts.

Call Governor Kaine (804-786-2211) and ask that he support parent involvement for students with disabilities by urging the Board of Education to listen to the concerns of parents and students.

Participate in local advocacy meetings.

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Last revised: 07/07/09

Created 03/14/08

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