In this article from Dallas’ WFAA (http://www.wfaa.com/news/feds-say-texas-illegally-failed-to-educate-students-with-disabilities-1/507312478), US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is quoted as saying “Far too many students in Texas had been precluded from receiving supports and services under [the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act], said the U.S. Secretary of Education in a statement Thursday”. DeVos was referring to the cap in the provision of services special needs students should receive from school districts
Wow that sounds like a tall order to complete within 7 days. Does this group of government officials, who normally get along so well, already have some plan in mind? In fact, what on Earth is all this about? The legislature already addressed the cap in the last legislative session when it passed SB 160, a law prohibiting the capping of number of special education students that could be identified at 8.5%.
Perhaps this sudden interest has something to do with the termination of a controversial no-bid contract aimed at improving special education services that completely fell through after $2.2 million in taxpayer funds was already spent. It makes one wonder who is next in line to manage special education services in Texas and whether they too will receive a no-bid contract in the plan coming in seven days.
What is more interesting, even after it took a law to be passed by the Texas State Legislature to remove the cap, TEA has denied all allegations that it capped services for students (https://www.texastribune.org/2018/01/11/federal-special-education-monitoring-report/). Huh? This must be the best kept secret in Texas if TEA was unaware that it had imposed this cap for the past several years. Disability Rights Texas made the rounds to each legislative office during the last session to make certain lawmakers knew about this cap. Lawmakers voted to remove the cap as students each year were increasingly not receiving the services.
This is not a school district issue. This is a leadership, equity, and funding issue owned by TEA and the State Legislature.