Texas Education Agency promises to re-evaluate special education

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Thousands of responses were sent to the Texas Education Agency from parents and advocates and Texas Education Agency has heard the plea to sketch a new plan to educate disabled kids with disabilities and limited money.

15-months ago a federal investigation was concluded against Texas Education Agency that for not providing the disabled kids with required tools and services for learning. The investigation found that state was incentivizing school districts to suppress special education numbers low and a lot of teacher misunderstood the legal requirements around educating disabled kids.

More than 100 focus groups were established across the state in February and information was collected on how special education can be revamped.

Agency admitted that it has been providing lesser and lesser percentage of kids with federally funded special education services for the last 15 years, despite of having a stable national trend in special education rates.

The draft also acknowledged that the TEA was unable to commit additional money without the approval of state and federal lawmakers. Additional money is required by the districts to help students who have been left out for special education. Parents are concerned that no change will take place without a promise.

Legally, TEA cannot commit additional funds other than those appropriated by the Texas Legislature and the US Congress. The strategic plan has been sustained with existing appropriations.

TEA also plans to outsource a long list of related projects to universities or private companies through a competitive bidding process. This will also constitute the rural schools with small special education programs and limited resources.

Texas has failed terribly at revamping special education over the last year. December, 2017: TEA dropped a controversial contract with a Georgia-based company to mine data from students with special needs. This took place when parents argued that the agency had maliciously done the bid without inviting others to bid.

In January, US Department of Education demanded that all the school districts identified and provided special education services to all the students who have been denied illegally, and those who have are in need but never been considered by the state for all the past years.

In Monday’s draft TEA promised to:

  • Form a team that will annually monitor some school districts on their performance on educating kids with special need and provide all the required assistance to them.
  • Necessitate all the school districts to immediately start identifying left out students with special education needs who have not graduated, and have reached out their parents for being evaluated for federally funded services. TEA will also allocate $65 million for this purpose.
  • Assist all school districts to properly train teacher about federal and state laws on special education for kids.
  • Make a call center of experienced staff to help parents navigate through process of figuring out what are the requirements for getting special education.
  • Contract a list of crucial services and projects to universities and state services centers, or even private companies through fair bidding process.
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