Texas announces $84.5M plan to improve special education
- The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is proposing to hire state-level teams to oversee and support districts’ efforts to provide educational services for students with special needs, Community Impact reports.
- The plan, which will cost roughly $84.5 million, is the TEA’s response to a U.S. Department of Education report released last week showing that the state had essentially put a cap on the number of students who could receive services.
- The teams would conduct on-site audits of districts’ special education services, and the creation of an outreach campaign to reach families whose children have been denied services is also part of the proposal.
The state also plans to include parents and special education advocates as it moves forward with implementing the plan. While parents can be a strong force in making sure their children are receiving services, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and 504 plan options can also be daunting for a family that doesn’t understand how to navigate the system or doesn’t agree with educators’ assessments of a child’s needs. Frequent communication between school leaders and special education parents can help to prevent problems before they escalate.
Many low-performing schools also have high numbers of students with special needs, according to this document from WestEd, which suggests that school administrators need a clear plan for how they are going to improve services for these students if they are going to successfully “turn around” their schools. The document provides a template for how administrators can conduct an inventory of their special education programs and create an improvement plan.