TEA to hold hearings on special education rules

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has scheduled two public hearings next week to discuss proposed changes to administrative rules relating to special education.

Changes to special education requirements resulting from the 82nd and 83rd Texas Legislatures affected multiple sections of 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter AA, Commissioner’s Rules Concerning Special Education Services. Accordingly, the affected rules require revisions in order to be aligned with the relevant changes to statute.

Hearings on the proposed revisions have been scheduled for Wednesday, June 25, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday, June 27, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the TEA headquarters. Both hearings will take place in Room 1-100, William B. Travis Building, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701.

The text of the proposed rule revisions and statutory citations can be found here on TEA’s website.

Written comments on the proposed rule changes may also be submitted to TEA at rules@tea.state.tx.us through July 14, 2014.

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2 thoughts on “TEA to hold hearings on special education rules

  1. Julie Rex

    To whom it may concern:

    I am writing with concerns regarding the proposed commissioner rules as they relate to graduation requirements for special education students who are working with modified curriculum.

    Specifically, my husband and I insist that students receiving modified curriculum should be allowed to earn endorsements, regardless of which classes are modified or whether or not they pass state assessments. Modifications among students are highly variable. Our daughter, who just finished her sophomore year, receives minimal accommodations….only extra time on tests, some shortened assignments, and fewer answer choices on multiple choice tests and the ability to take computerized tests due to dysgraphia. She has achieved A/B Honor Roll in all but one semester of her 9th and 10th grades terms. She is learning the same concepts as her peers, and we are slowly hoping to eliminate modifications by the end of high school. She does not take modified curriculum or tests. However, due to her learning differences and extreme test anxiety, the STAAR EOC tests are extremely difficult for her. She has passed English I (although she had to take the test two times), Algebra I, and Biology I. She took the previous version of the English II EOC last fall and passed the reading, but barely failed the writing. When she retook the new version of the English II EOC, our counselor told us she would have received a passing score on the written (essay) portion, but because she needs extra time for these tests, she did not even complete the reading portion and since this is now one test, she failed. This is devastating to an A/B Honor Roll student who wants to attend a four-year university and who feels she is being punished by having to take and retake this test. We are looking at moving her to the Foundation with Endorsements Plan so that she does not have the cloud of another English II EOC hanging over head as she tries to continue to make A’s and B’s her junior year.

    Regarding the requirement that Special Education students pass STAAR to receive an endorsement, I would venture to assert that a majority of Texans would oppose such a measure. Keeping them from earning an endorsement when they have the grades in the courses is simply punitive to them. There is no evidence that STAAR has enhanced college or career readiness, and we find its validity questionable. However, even if the assessments were proven valid and had some proven value, they still have nothing to do with endorsements. STAAR measures math, english, science and social studies, NOT endorsement electives. One’s STAAR results does not make them a better artist (Fine Arts) or welder (Business and Industry) for example. STAAR should be used diagnostically to assess academic progress and guide instruction, not used punitively to deny diplomas or endorsements.

    In conclusion, if barriers to endorsements are placed in front of special ed students, then you will have far fewer special ed students seeking to take more rigorous courses to complete these endorsements. This is exactly the opposite of the intent of HB5, and clearly discriminates against disabled students. Why would would these student push their limits to earn endorsments only to have them taken away as punishment for using a tool (modifications) rightly needed to access the curriculum due to a disability? This is about equity and fairness, not equality.

    Respectfully,

    Julie Rex
    Plano, TX

    Reply
    1. Monty Exter

      Julie,

      What a thoughtful, personal and passionate comment. I’m certainly glad you posted it here and hope that you also sent it directly to TEA as a comment on the proposed rules.

      Monty Exter
      ATPE Government Realtions

      Reply

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