Texas Legislative Update for June 2017

Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist,  shares his insights on newly signed Texas legislation.  Please keep in mind that even though a bill is effective immediately, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) must go through the process of developing and posting rules before schools can begin implementing some of the laws.

HB 657 

An ARD committee (IEP team) may promote a student to the next grade level if the committee concludes that the student has made sufficient progress in the measurable academic goals contained in the student’s IEP despite not passing the STAAR.  At the beginning of each school year, a district must inform parents of the options of the ARD committee if the student does not perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument.  Effective immediately

HB 1645 

If a district allows a student to participate in a Special Olympics event, they must allow the student to earn a district letter.  This seems to be addressing a “fairness” or discrimination issue.  Effective immediately

SB 160

TEA may not adopt or implement a performance indicator in any agency monitoring system, including the performance-based monitoring analysis system, that solely measures a school district’s or open-enrollment charter school’s aggregated number or percentage of enrolled students who receive special education services.  TEA may still collect and examine data to determine whether significant disproportionality based on race or ethnicity is occurring in the state and in the school districts and open-enrollment charter schools.  Effective 5/22/2017

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Cameras in the Classroom

During the 2015 session, the Texas legislature passed a law (SB 507) requiring video tapping in certain special education classrooms in Texas public schools; an action that drew national attention.  SB 507 addresses safety concerns that had become an issue for many parents of children in special education classrooms and settings. The stated purpose of the law is “to promote student safety”.  At the request of a parent, trustee, or staff member, school districts, and open-enrollment charter schools “shall provide equipment, including a video camera, to each school in the district or each charter school campus in which a student who receives special education services in a self-contained classroom or other special education setting is enrolled.”

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Videotapping of Special Education Classrooms

TEA has just published proposed rules on SB 507 concerning the videotapping of special education classrooms.  The comment period runs until May 9th, 2016. At that time TEA staff will review the comments, and finalize the rules. They hope to have the rules go into effect by June 16, 2016.

So, what will these changes mean for your child?  Our Education Specialist, Chuck Noe, breaks down the proposed rules:

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