Special Education Dispute Resolution Processes
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The Texas Education Agency (TEA) offers multiple processes for resolving disputes related to special education: individualized education program facilitation (FIEP), mediation, special education complaints, and due process hearings. Links to information for these processes are below.
Comparison of Services
The State Special Education Dispute Resolution System: A Comparison of Services Available to Parents and Schools is here.
Resources for Special Education Dispute Resolution
CADRE, the Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education, serves as the National Center on Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education on behalf of the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education and assists states with implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) procedural safeguards provisions and the development of high-performing dispute resolution systems. CADRE works to increase the nation’s capacity to prevent and resolve special education and early intervention disputes by fostering productive home/school/provider partnerships and the use of collaborative processes to improve outcomes for children and youth with disabilities.
CADRE’s Working Together Series, a valuable online learning resource designed specifically for IEP Team members, can help educators and families move toward more collaborative and productive IEP meetings. Communication and conflict resolution strategies are embedded throughout the lessons, along with opportunities to reflect and check one’s knowledge.
Course 1: Introduction to the Working Together Series
Course 2: IEP Meetings and Beyond
Course 3: Listening and Responding Skills
Course 4: Managing and Responding to Emotions
Course 5: Focusing on Interests to Reach Agreement
The lessons can be viewed independently or as a group. Supplemental resources have been developed (e.g., facilitator guide) or curated to further one’s learning. To learn more, please visit:
You will need to create an online account to access the free, five-course learning series.
IEP facilitation serves as a means of preventing disputes related to special education programs and services and serves as an alternative dispute resolution process for issues related to special education. For more information about the state’s IEP facilitation program, see Individualized Education Program Facilitation (FIEP).
Special Education Complaints
If you believe a public agency, including TEA, has violated federal or state requirements related to special education, you may file a special education complaint with TEA. For more information about the state’s special education complaints process, see Special Education Complaints Process.
TEA offers mediation to parties who have a disagreement involving the educational program for a student with a disability. Mediation is voluntary, meaning that both parties must agree to participate in mediation. TEA provides information about mediation each time it receives a special education complaint or a due process hearing request, but parents and local educational agencies (LEAs) may request mediation at any time. For more information about mediation, see the Office of Legal Services, Special Education Mediation Program.
Due Process Hearings
A special education due process hearing is a formal legal process similar to going to trial in a court. A district or parent may request a due process hearing when a parent and the district do not agree about the identification, evaluation, educational placement or services of a student with a disability or when the parties disagree on the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to the student. For more information about due process hearings, see the Office of Legal Services, Special Education Due Process Hearing Program.
Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook
More detailed information about the processes above can be found in TEA’s Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook.
The English version of the Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook may be found by clicking here: Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook.
The Spanish version of the Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook may be found by clicking here: AGENCIA DE EDUCACIÓN DE TEXAS MANUAL DE LOS SISTEMAS PARA RESOLUCIÓN DE CONFLICTOS DE EDUCACIÓN ESPECIAL.
The agency can provide copies of the Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook in other languages as needed.