INVESTIGATION: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Kids Out of Special Ed

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Are you following the investigation in Texas, where unelected state officials devised a system that kept thousands of disabled kids out of special education?

This 2004 “monitoring system” is under investigation by the Houston Chronicle and state bureau reporter Brian M. Rosenthal, who is passionate about covering vulnerable people and the ways in which they are affected by their government.

Keep up with series, track your district, or share your story at The Houston Chronicle.

 **Update 2019: Texas Education Agency v. U.S. Dept of Education featured as Case of the Year in Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments & Cases 2018, pages 42 and 124.

USDOE withheld $33.3 million from Texas when the TEA failed to comply with IDEA requirements for state financial support for special ed. Texas appealed to the Fifth Circuit which denied the petition for review and upheld the USDOE.

***Investigation Results Update: January 11, 2018. TEA Violated Federal Laws – Corrective Action Ordered!

“Texas’s decision to set a “target” for the maximum percentage of students who should receive special education services violated federal laws.”

“Federal regulators order the state to design a plan to identify students who were inappropriately kept out of special education and to figure out how to help them, among other corrective actions.”***

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-12-11-37-pmDenied: Part 1: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Kids Out of Special Ed

Schools Push Students Out of Special Education to Meet State Limit

Official fights to restore special ed for autistic son

How we know the reason for the drop in Texas special ed students

Search your school district: See how the percentage of kids receiving special ed services has changed in your area.

Share your story: Help the Chronicle investigate.

Feds Order Texas to comply with Special ed Laws

Straus: ‘Students who need special education should not be kept out of it’House speaker vows to take action after Chronicle report on special ed

How Texas Shortchanged Students With Disabilities – Education Writers Association radio interview with Chronicle reporter Brian Rosenthal who talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about crunching the numbers, how this has impacted students and families, and what’s next in his reporting.

October 3, 2016: US Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) Letter to Morath, Commissioner TEA

January 11, 2018: TEA Violated Federal Laws – Corrective Action Ordered!

  1. This is a serious situation that we are dealing with here. I worked for TEA, & districts in special ed. I believe TEA has done a poor job of monitoring districts’ implementation of the child find requirement. The concept of local autonym is very strong, & while schools complain about regulations & monitoring, it is minimal, & without any real teeth.

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