04 Apr Texas Lawmakers Debate Special Ed; Bills Calls for More Funding for Autism, Dyslexia Services

April 4, 2017

By: Brian M. Rosenthal
Source: Houston Chronicle 

After six months of talking about the need to fix Texas’ embattled special education system, state lawmakers are getting to work.

The House Public Education Committee is holding hearings today on a half-dozen different pieces of legislation related to special education. It will be the first chance for many parents to speak with lawmakers since the Houston Chronicle revealed that Texas had set a de facto cap on the percentage of students who could receive special ed services, blocking tens of thousands of students with disabilities from needed help.

The proposals set to be heard today include bills to prohibit the state from ever again capping special education enrollments and to increase funding for services for children with autism and kids with dyslexia. Another piece of legislation would study the impact of standardized tests on students with disabilities.

They are the first of dozens of ideas to help students who were harmed by the cap, expand teacher training, boost transparency of special instructional programs, get more parent input in state policy making and put more focus on English language learners in special education, among other proposals.

Overall, lawmakers have filed 51 special education bills this year, including 16 written directly in response to the Chronicle’s findings. During the last legislative session, lawmakers filed 30 bills related to special ed.

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