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.
“Sec. 8.061. DYSLEXIA SPECIALIST. Each regional education service center shall employ as a dyslexia specialist a person licensed as a dyslexia therapist under Chapter 403, Occupations Code, to provide school districts served by the center with support and resources that are necessary to assist students with dyslexia and the families of students with dyslexia.”
Currently, students in kindergarten thru second grade must be tested for dyslexia and related disorders. Now students in kindergarten and first grade must also be screened at the end of the school year. The question becomes, will the Texas Education Agency (TEA) feel that schools must do much if anything different than what they are currently doing.
TEA must annually develop a list of training opportunities regarding dyslexia. At least one of these must be available online. These opportunities must comply with the knowledge and practice standards of an international dyslexia organization, enable an educator to understand and recognize dyslexia as well as implement instruction that is systemic, explicit, and evidence-based to meet the educational needs of a student with dyslexia.
S.B. 748 amends the law regarding transition planning for a public school student enrolled in a special education program. It allows parental involvement in the student’s transition if the parent is invited to participate by the student or the district, or the parent or other person has the student’s consent to participate under an agreement made under the Supported Decision-Making Agreement Act. This is also required under HB 1866.
The law specifies that the issue of the availability of age-appropriate instructional environments for a student who is at least 18 years of age includes community settings or environments that prepare the student for postsecondary education or training, competitive integrated employment, or independent living in coordination with the student’s transition goals and objectives.
It also changes the issue concerning appropriate circumstances for referring a student or the student’s parents to a governmental agency for services, to appropriate circumstances for facilitating a referral of the student or parents to a governmental agency for services or for public benefits, including a referral to a governmental agency to place the student on a waiting list for public benefits available to the student such as a waiver program established under certain provisions of the federal Social Security Act.
It also requires a district to assist the student in developing decision-making skills and appropriate supports and services to foster the student’s independence and self-determination, including a supported decision-making agreement.
ARD committees must annually review the issues it must consider and address for transition planning purposes and, if necessary, to update the portions of the student’s IEP that address those issues. The district transition specialist and TEA staff must provide more information for parents including a list of services and public benefits for which referral of a student or the student’s parents to a governmental agency may be appropriate.
The transition and employment guide developed by TEA for special education students and their parents must be written in plain language. Information in the guide regarding guardianship and alternatives to guardianship must include a supported decision-making agreement. Districts must provide written information and, if necessary, assistance regarding how to access the electronic version of the guide to a student, in addition to a parent.
Districts must provide to the student and the student’s parents written notice regarding the transfer of parental rights to the student at the age of majority and information and resources regarding guardianship, alternatives to guardianship (including a supported decision-making agreement), and other supports and services that may enable the student to live independently and to ensure that the student’s IEP includes a statement that the district provided the required notice, information and resources.
TEA must develop and post on the TEA website a model form for use by districts in notifying students and parents of the transfer of parental rights at the age of majority; and requires the form to include the requisite information and resources regarding guardianship, alternatives to guardianship and other relevant supports and services.
The bill establishes that nothing in provisions relating to the transfer of parental rights at the age of majority prohibits a student from entering into a supported decision-making agreement after the transfer of parental rights.
S.B. 748 applies beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.
Creates the Behavior Analyst Advisory Board to license behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts. The bill requires the commission to adopt rules under the bill’s provisions governing behavior analysts that establish standards of ethical practice and requires TDLR (Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation) to provide reasonable assistance to a person who wishes to file a complaint with TDLR regarding a person or activity regulated under the bill’s provisions. Licensure allows these analysts to be reimbursed by certain health insurance plans including Medicaid.
Some parts of bill are not effective until September 1, 2018.
Any bill can be researched at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillNumber.aspx
Under “Text”, a reader can see if the text of the bill changed after it was introduced, any fiscal costs associated with the bill, a bill analysis, a list of all who testified for or against the bill, and a summary of the committee action. If the bill was sent to the governor, it shows, if and when it was signed.