AUSTIN – At the direction of Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has drafted an initial corrective action plan regarding the support and delivery of special education services in our state’s public schools. The initial draft addresses all issues identified in a recent federal monitoring report, including the proper identification of special education students and assuring access to appropriate services at the local level.
Commissioner of Education Mike Morath stressed this initial plan is simply a first draft still requiring additional public comment. Before a final plan is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, TEA will engage in a significant outreach effort over the next two months to hear from special education students, families, educators, advocacy groups, district and school officials, and all others seeking to provide input on the plan.
“This corrective action plan provides the state of Texas the chance to make meaningful, lasting change in how we educate and support children with special needs,” said Commissioner Morath. “We are approaching this planning process with the seriousness that it requires and hope to solicit the kind of collective feedback, support and collaboration that our students deserve as we work to earn back the trust parents place in us for their children. My top priority has and continues to be to improve outcomes for all students in Texas.”
A copy of the draft plan was shared with the Governor’s Office and made publicly available today on the TEA website (https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED). Significant actions that are part of the draft plan include:
- TEA would create a suite of resources intended to be shared with the parents of children suspected of having a disability to help fully inform them of their rights to a free and appropriate public education, and accompany those resources with a large outreach effort.
- TEA would roll out a large scale statewide special education professional development system, including multiple opportunities for follow-up support for all educators (general education, special education, and others).
- For students who are found to have needed services and did not receive them, the school system is responsible for providing compensatory services. TEA would identify funds to support effective service delivery.
- TEA would further strengthen its staffing and resources devoted to special education, allowing for greater oversight as well as additional on-site support to local school districts.
TEA will be accepting an initial round of public comments on the draft plan through Feb. 18. A website has been established providing a copy of the draft, an overview of TEA’s outreach efforts with various stakeholders, and an email address to provide comment.
Following the initial round of public comments and stakeholder engagement, a revised draft plan will be available on or around March 1. Additional public comment will be accepted through March 31.
Under the current timeline, the final State corrective action plan would be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on or around April 18 (pending additional conversations and feedback from federal officials).
To review the draft plan and learn more about providing feedback, visit the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED.
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