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

Vocational education (new Sec. 300.39(b)(5)) (proposed Sec. 300.38(b)(5))

Comment: A few commenters recommended revising the definition of vocational education to include specially designed educational programs that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for paid or unpaid employment or for additional preparation for a career not requiring a baccalaureate or advanced degree.

Discussion: We believe that the more general reference to "organized education programs" in the definition of vocational education is accurate and should not be changed to refer to "specially designed educational programs," as recommended by the commenter, because some children with disabilities will benefit from educational programs that are available for all children and will not need specially designed programs.

Changes: None.

Comment: Some commenters stated that Congress did not intend that the definition of vocational education would include vocational and technical education. The commenters stated that the addition of vocational and technical education to the definition of vocational education creates a right under the Act to educational services that would be extremely costly for States and LEAs to implement.

Other commenters stated that including the definition of vocational and technical education from the Carl D. Perkins Act expands FAPE beyond secondary education, which is an unwarranted responsibility for school districts. One commenter stated that the definition could be interpreted to require public agencies to provide two years of postsecondary education for students with disabilities. A few commenters strongly recommended removing the definition of vocational and technical education.

Some commenters recommended removing the reference to the postsecondary level for a 1-year certificate, an associate degree, and industry-recognized credential in the definition of vocational and technical education. One commenter suggested that proposed Sec. 300.38(b)(6)(i)(A) conclude with the word "or" to clarify that the sequence of courses is discretionary.

Discussion: The definition of vocational education was revised to include the definition of vocational and technical education in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act of 1988, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 2301, 2302(29). However, based on the comments we received, it is apparent that including the definition of vocational and technical education has raised concerns and confusion regarding the responsibilities of SEAs and LEAs to provide vocational education. Therefore, we will remove the definition of vocational and technical education in proposed Sec. 300.38(b)(6) and the reference to vocational and technical education in proposed Sec. 300.38(b)(5)(ii).

Changes: The definition of vocational and technical education in proposed Sec. 300.38(b)(6) has been removed. Accordingly, the reference to vocational and technical education in proposed Sec. 300.38(b)(5)(ii)) has also been removed.