TEA Violated Federal Laws – Corrective Action Ordered!

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In 2016, investigative reporter Brian Rosenthal broke a story in Texas and wrote a series of articles for the Houston Chronicle that rocked the world of special education far beyond that state’s boundaries.

On January 11, 2018, writing for the NYT, Brian reported on the results of the federal investigation.

Photo credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for the New York Times

 **Update 2019: Texas Education Agency v. U.S. Dept of Education featured as a 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.


Texas Illegally Excluded Thousands From Special Education, Federal Officials Say


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

“In the letter, federal regulators ordered 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.”


“The order brought to an end one of the Department of Education’s most extensive reviews in recent history. Investigators spent 15 months holding public forums, interviewing teachers and visiting school districts.”


“The federal review was prompted by a 2016 investigation by The Houston Chronicle, which revealed the enrollment target.”

INVESTIGATION: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Kids Out of Special Ed https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/investigation-how-texas-keeps-tens-of-thousands-of-kids-out-of-special-ed/

The Denied! series is also featured in Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2016, page 19.

USDOE prevails in this Case of the Year, Texas Education Agency v. U.S. Dept. of Education, 908 F.3d 127. Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2018, page 42 and 124.

  1. TEA said they had to set CAP that school districts were overly placing children in special education that did not need to be in special education. As to the reason for the so called CAP blaming the school districts. Student v. Warren ISD. When the case of C.C. b/n/f C.M v. Warren ISD Fifth Circuit court of appeals TEA did not hold Warren ISD for doing exactly what they had said was the reason for the CAP in this case C.C. was placed in Special Education to be excluded and for no other reason. C.C. did not have a disability and TEA did not hold the school district accountable for not only illegal placement but procedure violation along with other violations as well. If TEA is going to Blame our schools for their CAP. Then hold them accountable for when they abuse it. TEA can’t be trusted.

    • Can I get timestamps when they talk about this Issue? I don’t see a search bar for the page itself, Just the entire website though I’m a newbie.

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