special education

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An investigative report last year revealed that the Texas Education Agency was using the percentage of students enrolled in special education classes as a performance indicator for public schools.

TEA Denies Allegations Of Cap On Special Education

Nov 3, 2016
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional comment.

The Texas Education Agency told the U.S. Department of Education Wednesday that it has never set a cap or limit on the number or percent of Texas public school students receiving special education support — but added that upcoming changes to the system should help district staff who may have been confused.

When Rosley Espinoza's daughter was very young, in preschool, she started acting differently. She seemed distracted and would get in trouble at school.

"Lack of interest, teachers' notes coming home with behavior notes," Espinoza says, speaking in Spanish.

She says she asked school officials to evaluate her daughter, Citlali, for special education, but they didn't.

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As TPR has reported this week, thousands of Texas school children are being denied the special education services they need and are legally entitled to.  State lawmakers are now calling for hearings and action to fix the problem.

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A series of stories by the Houston Chronicle questions how the state determines, or allows school districts to determine, who receives special education. "Denied," the series from reporter Brian Rosenthal found that the state set an arbitrary number of 8.5 percent and worked towards ensuring the state met that threshold, despite the rates of kids meeting the special education requirements being higher in other states.