AUSTIN – The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) today notified the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that it has reviewed the agency’s response on special education.
Components of the response, which address all issues identified in a federal monitoring report released at the beginning of the year, are also part of the broader TEA Texas Special Education Strategic Plan, a comprehensive approach regarding the delivery of special education services in school districts statewide.
Commissioner of Education Mike Morath noted that the agency has already made significant progress towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
“The Texas Special Education Strategic Plan was posted on our agency website in April, along with the federal Corrective Action Response. In that time, TEA has already completed more than half of the required activities in that Corrective Action Response,” said Commissioner Morath. “It’s important to note that the development of the plan relied heavily on extensive input from parents, students, teachers and education stakeholders. We continue to adhere to a commitment to transparency and engagement throughout the plan’s implementation.”
Commissioner Morath noted that key to carrying out work in the comprehensive plan is assuring adequate staffing at the state level. To date, TEA has filled more than 70 percent of the 55 vacancies listed in the Strategic Plan, including all major positions in the Office of Academics: Deputy Commissioner of Special Populations in the Office of Academics (Matt Montaño); Director of Special Education (Justin Porter); Director of Review and Support (Jennifer Alexander); Director of Escalation (Ed O’Neill) and Director of Dispute Resolution and Strategic Supports (Dominick Robinson).
In addition, TEA has accomplished the following major deliverables over the past several months:
- There are currently 14 grants posted in support of the Strategic Plan. This is in addition to the regional grants awarded to ESCs to provide technical assistance support to LEAs. Five additional grants will be posted in the coming months.
- TEA has drafted statements of work for all identified contracts in the Strategic Plan (15 contracts identified). Those contracts are in varying stages of the contractual process. TEA expects all contracts to be executed no later than Aug. 31, 2019.
TEA will continue to expand its regular community stakeholder engagement activities during the school year. The agency will also begin posting on its website memos outlining progress towards the Strategic Plan deliverables. They will be published quarterly to allow for full transparency and accountability.
In its correspondence to the agency, OSEP does seek additional information on specific action items as TEA develops specific resources and activities. Required information and details will be shared with federal officials as the various components are being developed and implemented.
To learn more about the Texas Special Education Strategic Plan, visit https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED.
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OSEP Response to Texas Corrective Action Response (PDF)