Ed_banner_left Ed_banner_right
U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Membership (Sec. 300.168)

Comment: We received numerous, specific requests to revise Sec. 300.168 to add to the list of individuals who can serve as members of the State advisory panels. Some commenters recommended requiring State advisory panels to include representatives from the Parent Training and Information Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers funded by the Department under sections 671 and 672 of the Act because their representation would ensure a diverse group of people experienced with children with different disabilities on the panels. One commenter expressed concern that, without representation from these groups, panel members would make recommendations based solely on their individual circumstances and backgrounds. A few commenters requested including school psychologists and other student support staff on State advisory panels. One commenter suggested including a representative of a residential treatment facility as a member on State advisory panels because children in these facilities are a growing population and have specialized needs. A few commenters requested adding representatives from centers for independent living because these individuals are experienced in advocating for people with disabilities. One commenter suggested including State coordinators for education of homeless children and youth. A few commenters suggested including disabled high school and postsecondary students on the list because the intended beneficiaries of the Act are often denied a voice. A few commenters proposed requiring each State advisory panel to be racially, culturally, linguistically, and socio-economically representative of the State. One commenter expressed concern that the new regulations could lead States to abruptly replace current panel members causing discontinuity and decreasing expertise, and recommended phasing in the new requirements and allowing panel members to complete their terms of office.

Discussion: The membership of State advisory panels is described in section 612(a)(21)(B) and (C) of the Act and the Department does not agree that there is a need to require additional representatives or to change the panel composition. However, nothing in the Act or these regulations would prevent the appointment of additional representatives, if a State elected to add these individuals. With respect to the request to include State coordinators for education of homeless children on the panels, State and local officials who carry out activities under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act are already included in the list of individuals identified to serve on the State advisory panels in Sec. 300.168(a)(5).

Section 612(a)(21)(B) of the Act, as reflected in Sec. 300.168, requires the State advisory panel to be representative of the State population and be composed of individuals involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities. Also, the Act and these regulations require a majority of the panel members to be individuals with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26). We also do not believe there is a need to phase in the new requirements, as those members that do not need to change should provide sufficient continuity of panel functions.

Changes: None.