Who ever thought executive orders would be interesting. Well, a new Executive Order asks agency heads to “eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs.” Agency heads are to submit reorganization plans to the Director of of the Office of Management and Budget that will improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency. Public comment will be solicited.The Director will submit a reorganization plan to the president 180 days after the end of the public comment period. The Director’s the plan must include “…recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions” as well as “…recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.” Among the factors to be considered are whether the agency functions are best left to the states and whether public benefit justifies the cost of running the agency. Parents with students affected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (I.D.E.A.) should be concerned, alert and ready to make public comment!
Section 504 is administered by the U.S. Education Department, Office of Civil Rights (OCR). They are an extremely helpful office when students and parents are subject to discrimination because of disabilities, among other things. The U.S. Education Department Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provides I.D.E.A. specific guidance, which requires unique expertise and knowledge of the statute, regulation and robust case law that has developed over 30 years. The cumulative knowledge of these departments gives parents an invaluable resource that must be protected. Having these discrete departments is important. They permit ready access and responses that a larger department could not deliver. Gather your thoughts so that you can share your input during the public comment period.