TEA extends survey deadline for special education corrective action draft plan

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has extended the comment deadline for its online survey soliciting feedback on a draft corrective action plan for special education. The online survey period will now run through Tuesday, Feb.20.

At the direction of Governor Greg Abbott, TEA drafted an initial corrective action plan regarding the support and delivery of special education services in the state’s public schools. The initial draft addresses all issues identified in a recent federal monitoring report, including the proper identification of special education students and assuring access to appropriate services at the local level.

The survey, which is available on the TEA website (https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED), is open to anyone wishing to provide input on the draft plan. It is one part of TEA’s ongoing outreach effort to hear from special education students, families, educators, advocacy groups, district and school officials, and all others seeking to provide input on the plan.

The survey takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. To fully understand and effectively respond to the questions in the survey, participants are encouraged to first read TEA’s draft corrective action plan.

Following this initial round of public comments, a revised draft plan will be available in early March. Additional public comment will be accepted through March 31.

To review the draft plan, visit the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED.


View the original TEA news release >


It seems like the school is not following my child’s IEP… what can I do?

Sometimes my daughter comes home from school and reports that she did not have time to finish her reading or math tests at school. We agreed at her IEP meeting that she will have extended time to complete all tests and daily work, but I’m worried that this is not happening. How can I address this issue with the school?

Answer:

This question is one that many parents ask. Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of services and accommodations the school provides for your child. Services and accommodations, such as extra time for work or for testing, are based on evaluation that identifies your child’s educational needs. As a parent, it is important that you feel comfortable with what the IEP team agreed upon, and you must be kept informed that services and accommodations are actually being provided to your child. The following are some useful steps that parents can take to be sure that the IEP is implemented as it is written.

Step One:

First, check your child’s IEP. Are the accommodations you are concerned about specifically listed, including when they will be provided or under what circumstances? Does the IEP actually state that extra time to complete work will be provided each day, or, does it say something like “accommodations will be provided when the teacher determines they are needed?” Language is very important. Unless the IEP specifies when the extra time will be provided, parents and teachers may find themselves at odds over whether an accommodation is needed for a specific task.

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IEP Meeting Conversation Stoppers

Some of the statements made to parents at IEP meetings are “conversation stoppers” — comments that create barriers and can prevent the IEP team from working cooperatively to develop effective special education services and supports for students with disabilities.

Here are nine common “conversation stoppers,” some information about what may be the real issues of concern and suggestions for how parents can respond in a forceful but respectful way so that planning for their child can move forward.

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Student-Centered Funding Pilot

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) will host two webinars regarding a new pilot to afford local educational agencies (LEAs) flexibility to create equitable, student-centered funding systems Wednesday, February 21 from 2:00 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time and Thursday, February 22 from 12:30 to 2:00 PM Eastern Time. The intended audience is LEAs, though other interested parties are also welcome. The webinars will include identical information, and the Department will take questions using the chat feature. To join a webinar, please select the link for the relevant session. Pre-registration is not required. The webinars will be recorded, and the recordings – as well as the slides – will be posted at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/scfp/studentcentered.html.

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TEA Parent Focus Groups – Special Education Corrective Actions

Texas Project First has just released the following update:

During the 2016-2017 school year, the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) performed a series of onsite monitoring visits to review Texas’ compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The final report was provided to TEA on January 10, 2018.

The findings from that report require TEA to develop a plan to address four corrective actions. An integral part of the plan development process will be the gathering of input from stakeholders and other interested Texans.

TEA will be conducting a series of focus group meetings targeting district leaders, parents of students with disabilities, teachers and service providers, and students within Region 2.   These meetings will be held prior to the final plan being submitted to OSEP on April 18, 2018.

Interested parents are invited to attend the focus group meeting in their area. Each meeting will include up to 25 participants and registration is required.

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Learning to Read and Write are Important, but so are Functional Skills

Learning to read and write are important, but so are functional skills, that can help a child live a full and enriched life! This article shares 3 parenting tips that you can use in your advocacy efforts!

Tip 1: Use Federal special education law Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA 2004 to strengthen your advocacy efforts for functional skill training. IDEA states that every IEP that is developed for a child must contain a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. What does this mean for your child? Your child’s IEP should state what level your child is at in the area of functional skills. Make sure that these statements are based on objective data such as tests and not subjective opinion.

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New FAQ’s about RtI and Children Not Eligible for Special Education

Response to Intervention (RtI) is an approach that schools use to help all students, including struggling learners. The RtI approach gives Texas students opportunities to learn and work at their grade level. The idea is to help all students be successful.

Senate Bill (SB) 1153, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, changed Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 26.0081. The changes require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to update the Student Handbook Statement.

The changes also require local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide parents with notice whenever their child begins to receive intervention strategies (Response to Intervention, RtI). The notice must contain specific requirements.

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US Commission on Civil Rights Issues Report on Inequities in Public School Funding

The United States Commission on Civil Rights has issued a new report concerning the inequities in public school funding. The conclusion of the report is that America’s schools are profoundly unequal.

Here are the recommendations of the Commission:

We agree with the Equity and Excellence Commission that the federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation’s public schools.

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A Parent’s Guide to Effective Instruction

Reading problems are the most common type of academic underachievement. Especially for students with dyslexia, learning to read and write can be exceedingly difficult. Dyslexia and related reading and language difficulties are the result of neurobiological variations, but they can be treated with effective instruction.

Effective instruction is instruction that is tied to student needs, as determined by diagnostic testing and evaluation. It is instruction delivered by knowledgeable and skilled individuals in a step-by-step fashion that leads to the achievement of desired outcomes or goals by targeting a student’s relative strengths and strengthening his or her relative weaknesses. Effective instruction also requires the ongoing monitoring of student progress to determine the ultimate course and duration of the instruction.

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