WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos illegally delayed an Obama-era rule that required states to address racial disparities in special education programs.
In a decision on Thursday, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia called the Education Department’s delay of the special education rule “arbitrary and capricious.” The rule, drafted under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, would require states to identify districts with “significant disproportionality” in the number of minority students channeled into special education services, segregated in restrictive classroom settings or disciplined.
The judge’s ruling vacates Ms. DeVos’s decision to put off the regulation by two years. Instead it will take effect immediately. Leaders in the Education Department said last summer that they needed time to study the rule’s potential consequences because they were concerned that it could promote unconstitutional “racial quotas.”