Development of TX Rules on Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Importance of Input from Parents of Children with Disabilities & Advocates

The ESSA is replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is the lead agency developing the Texas state plan which must determine how the new federal law will affect accountability, funding, school improvement, and grant-making systems.  “The passage of ESSA has created a unique opportunity to inform Texas’ education policy,” said Commissioner Morath. “However, we need input from all parts of our state to ensure that, under ESSA, all students in Texas can receive a high-quality education that prepares them for the future.”

The online ESSA survey, which will take less than ten minutes to complete, is available at The online survey provides an opportunity for anyone to share views on how the state should implement provisions of ESSA. The survey period will run through Nov. 18, 2016.

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Plan Ahead for an Effective Meeting about Your Child’s Behavior Needs

Raising a child with a disability is challenging. Raising a child with a disability who also has behavioral needs is even more challenging. As a parent, you may find yourself among competing approaches to handling behavior concerns.  Planning ahead for an individualized meeting about your child’s behavior needs will help you explain your own ideas about the best way to help your child in addition to listening to the ideas of others.

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Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education

A Houston Chronicle investigation has found that Texas has deprived thousands of kids of special education services.

…”Walker knew the law was on her side. Since 1975, Congress has required public schools in the United States to provide specialized education services to all eligible children with any type of disability.

But what she didn’t know is that in Texas, unelected state officials have quietly devised a system that has kept thousands of disabled kids like Roanin out of special education.

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Being Amy’s Sister: On Having a Sibling with a Disability

In this video from the University of Colorado, Meg Bost describes her experiences growing up as a twin with a sister with disabilities. Meg talks about finding support, accepting her feelings, and finding her voice as an advocate. This video has important messages for family members of children with disabilities, especially sisters and brothers, as well as providers who offer support for families.

This video is a companion to the video A Reunion with Amy which is also available through the University of Colorado’s website.

5 Steps to Becoming Your Child’s Best Advocate

1. Start with the assumption that you are an equal partner in your child’s education.

Parents of children with special needs should be involved as equal partners in their child’s educational planning. Unfortunately, many parents say, “How can I be an equal partner? I am just a parent. I don’t know enough to work with all those professionals!” A parent who feels this way will not “speak up” and be the best advocate for their child.

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