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There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference.
— Edward R. Murrow, Journalist
 

TxSER Response Regarding TEA's Corrective Action Plan

 
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE AND WIDE RELEASE 01/18/2018

CONTACT: 

Texans for Special Education Reform  
Cheryl Fries     
cheryl@Texans4SPEDreform.org      
512-657-7880


 

AUSTIN:  

“Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right.” 
― Marian Wright Edelman


Finally. It’s about time. Long overdue.

Can we all just take a minute to salute Brian Rosenthal and the Houston Chronicle for exposing the 8.5% cap on special education and its effect on children, families, and educators? Here’s to you Brian!

Now the federal investigation has landed on TEA’s desk, and both the Governor and the Commissioner have (finally) called for involvement by those of us with boots on the ground – students, parents, teachers, advocates – to provide input to help right this wrong and support our public schools so they can support us and our kids. We think that’s a great idea. No one wants improvements in Texas special education more than we do.

TxSER has asked TEA about stakeholder input to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) request for a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), and they have told us they will soon have something on their website allowing anyone in the state to provide input and feedback through public comment and “potentially  surveys,” as well as ongoing information about meetings and focus groups. We will be sure to post that information as soon as we receive it.

In the meantime, here is the report for you to review as you think about suggestions. We know that many families are still struggling daily,  that many students are still being denied, and that many teachers are still being prevented from doing their jobs. We are all frustrated at the lack of accountability and angered by the massive injustices that have occurred. But it is important to remember that this is an opportunity for all of us to provide input about system reform rather than individual issues, for all students, not just our own. Helpful suggestions will be realistic and achievable and fit into one of the four Corrective Actions called for by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. Disability Rights Texas has a very helpful Facebook Live (HERE) explaining each of these actions. TxSER will also be blogging about specific topics to help make sure you have the information you need.

Texans for Education Reform had an opportunity as part of the Advocacy Roundtable to provide preliminary recommendations. Examples of some of the input TxSER provided include the creation of an independent Office of Inspector General or Ombudsman to oversee TEA’s administration of special education; reinstituting Compliance Audits that include special education examination in local districts; and the creation by TEA (not ESCs) of bilingual training modules, toolkits, and infographics for parents, educators, and the public to clarify information about Child Find, LRE, FAPE, 504, and other relevant information.

Most of all, we are encouraging TEA to adopt a culture that champions all Texas children and creates a robust roadmap that supports public schools in supporting Texas children. This problem has been years in the making and it will take all of us – from the schoolhouse to the statehouse – to get it fixed, but working thoughtfully together, We. Can. Do. This. for the children.

More soon. Onward!

 

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We envision a state in which all individuals with disabilities are identified, and receive an education that maximizes their future potential for post-secondary education, employment, community participation, and independent living.

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