TEA Warns Districts Not to Use RTI to Delay Special Education Referrals

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently sent a letter on November 17, 2016 to school districts urging them to not delay or deny special education referrals in order to complete Response to Intervention strategies (RTI). In its November 2016 letter, TEA stated: “There have been reports that some school districts may be delaying or denying special education referrals in order to complete RTI strategies. As stated in the Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process, a child does not need to advance through each tier of the RTI system before a referral for special education is made. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has advised that it would be inconsistent with the evaluation provisions of  the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for a school district to reject a referral and delay an initial evaluation on the basis that a student has not participated in an RTI framework. Once it is apparent that general education interventions are not sufficient, school personnel should suspect that the child has a disability and should initiate a referral.” Link below from the Texas Classroom Teachers Association summarizing the letter from the Texas Education Agency. https://tcta.org/node/14373-tea_warns_districts_not_to_use_rti_to_delay_special_education_referrals Link  below to the November 17 letter-The information about Special Education Referrals and Response to Intervention is at the bottom of the letter. http://tea.texas.gov/interiorpage_wide.aspx?id=51539612249

New article in the Houston Chronicle about the declining Special Ed Numbers in Texas

There is a new article in the Houston Chronicle about the declining Special Education numbers in the state of Texas focusing on mentally ill students. The article addresses how mentally ill students have disproportionately been affected by the 8.5 percent target for Special Education enrollment imposed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). According to the Health and Human Services Commission there is an estimated 500,000 school-age children in Texas who have a serious mental illness but only 30,034 receive special education services. Below is the link to the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Mentally-ill-lose-out-as-special-ed-declines-10623706.php?t=b0dad284f4