Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released it’s corrective action plan for Special Education in response to the 2016-2017 U.S. Department of Education investigation. https://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/News_and_Multimedia/Press_Releases/2018/ TEA_drafts_corrective_action_plan_for_special_education/ Commissioner of Education Mike Morath explained this initial plan is simply a first draft still requiring additional public comment and suggestions. A final plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education after educators, students, families, school districts, and advocacy groups have a chance to provide input. https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED/ Click the above link to read the entire action plan ad to provide feedback.
Below are links to two inspirational stories concerning the special needs or as I say special opportunities community. The first link is to an article about Quest Diagnostics starting a jobs program for adults with disabilities. The second link is to an article about Cole Hamels and his wife who donated their mansion near Branson, Missouri to the area non-profit organization called Camp Barnabas. Camp Barnabas offers day camp programs for kids with chronic illnesses and special needs. To read more about both inspirational stories click the links below: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2018/01/11/quest-diagnostics-starts-jobs-program-adults-autism https://sports.yahoo.com/cole-hamels-donates-9-75-million-mansion-special-needs-camp-195304752.html
The U.S. Department of Education has released it’s report detailing its finding into Texas’ noncompliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and failing to educate students with disabilities. The federal investigation was sparked by an article series titled “Denied” in the Houston Chronicle. This series of articles took an in depth look at the state of special education in Texas and investigated the use of the 8.5 percent cap. In response to the “Denied” series federal officials visited five Texas cities in December 2016 and held listening sessions gathering input from numerous parents telling stories of how their child was denied special education services. Federal officials returned to Texas in February 2017 to tour selected school districts and review special education paperwork. For more information on this developing story click the links below. The second link includes the full report from the Department of Education. The last link is to the “Denied” series that sparked the investigation. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/01/11/federal-special-education-monitoring-report https://copaa.site-ym.com/news/381872/U.S.-DOE-Finds-Texas-Education-Association-Not-Compliant-with-Special-Education-Requirements.htm http://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-schools-failed-identify-special-education-students-department/story?id=52285774 http://www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has revoked 25 guidance documents including some that clarify items concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The revoked guidance documents addressed such issues as service animals, accessible building practices, and 2016 letter on employment of people with disabilities. Disability advocates worry that taking away guidance documents will create uncertainty about the interpretation of the law. Justice Department Scraps ADA Guidance
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) now faces tons of questions over it’s failed IEP Analysis Project with the Georgia company, SPEDx. An internal TEA investigation dated November 17, 2017 found no misconduct with the SPEDx contract, however, questions still linger over the failed contract & project. Special Education advocates are still suspicious about TEA’s motives & purpose of the project. For more information on the aftermath after the IEP Analysis Project was cancelled and the next steps for Special Education in Texas please click the links to the articles below. https://www.texastribune.org/2017/12/20/texas-education-agency-faces-mounting-questions-over-cancelled-special/ http://www.mystatesman.com/news/texas-special-education-overhaul-stalls-tea-answers-don-add/PsFT3gwkr4RBozNxcBu5yN/?ref=cbTopWidget