This is just a shout out to a local hero and reporter, Brian Rosenthal. In a 2016 article “Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of student’s out of special education,” Brian Rosenthal exposed the Texas Education Administration's (TEA’s) limitation of special education. The TEA kept special education at 8.5% or lower, denying many deserving children special education. In 2003, the governor and commissioner set this benchmark of 8.5% to reduce “over-identification.” They along with the TEA did not see this as a cap, but rather as an indicator to investigate when exceeded. In fact, districts with enrollment above 8.5% were “corrected” and fined. With the TEA’s limit of 8.5%, and the national average of special education at 12-13%, this left approximately 250,000 students without the help they deserved (Rosenthal 2016). Since this article, Texas and the TEA face ongoing federal scrutiny and millions of dollars in fines. They are trying to come up with a strategic plan to remedy prior denials and improve special education in Texas. For many of us, these changes are moving too slowly, but at least they are moving in the right direction. Thanks, Brian!
Rosenthal B. (2016, September 10) Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of students out of special education. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/1/
Swaby, A. (April 5, 2019). Texas estimates it may owe feds $223 million after illegally decreasing special education funding. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved from: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/04/05/texas-estimates-it-may-owe-feds-223-million-special-education-funding/