Texas caught in a "cap" scandal which has denied tens of thousands of children with disabilities needed and entitled special education services!
I don't live in Texas, but have followed the scandal of how the state has imposed a "cap" on the amount of children receiving special education services since 2004 which is 12 years. My first thought was how the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) allowed this for so many years without stopping it---then I reminded myself that the U.S. Department of Education is useless in standing up for children with disabilities!! There was a great advocate who used to say that "The U.S. DOE should be replaced by an automatic check writing machine---because of their uselessness." Unfortunately she passed away several years ago, but I continue to agree with her. My stance has continued since I learned that the U.S. DOE learned about the "cap" in 2014 and took the TEA's "verbal" assurances that this was being done to make sure that districts were not overidentifying children with disabilities. The U.S. DOE did not ask for any written proof that this was not a "cap" but took TEA's verbal word for it!! Bad mistake---the TEA lied---they called the percentages "monitoring standards" and "benchmarks" but did not call it "caps" which the districts viewed it as!
Texas rate of special education dropped from 11.67% in 2004 to 8.5% in 2016---which is over a 3% drop. Districts and teachers reported having delayed or denied children with disabilities special education services to stay below the 8.5% "cap."
This scandal came to light when the Houston Chronicle published an investigative report on September 11, 2016 entitled: "How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education."
Here are a few quotes from the article:
1. "Over a decade ago TEA arbitrarily decided what percentage of students should get special education services--8.5--and since then they have forced schools districts to comply by strictly auditing those service too many kids."
2. "Efforts have never been publicly announced---but saved the TEA billions of dollars."
3. "The national average for students receiving special education services is 13%.
4. "Educators consider 8.5% as a strict ban on serving more students (in special education)."
5. "The Chronicle investigation found that the TSA's 8.5% enrollment target has led to the systematic denial of services by school districts to tens of thousands of families across the state."
If you would like to see the entire Houston Chronicle article go to:
On October 3, 2016 the U.S. Department of Education sent Texas a letter stating that within 30 days the TEA must send a response to the U.S. Department of Education and must take five steps to resolve this issue. If you would like to see the letter go to: https://www.scribd.com/document/326304343/U-S-Department-of-Education-letter-about-Texas-special-education-enrollment-targethttps://www.scribd.com/document/326304343/U-S-Department-of-Education-letter-about-Texas-special-education-enrollment-targethttps://www.scribd.com/document/326304343/U-S-Department-of-Education-letter-about-Texas-special-education-enrollment-target.
According to a COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates) update: The U.S. DOE directed the state to report back in 30 days on the benchmark's impact and on which school districts across the state may have relied on it to deny special education services to children. Its findings on those districts should include "the specific steps the State will take to remedy the effect of
of such past practices,"
Here's hoping that the U.S. Department of Education will now stand up to Texas and make them now provide the needed special education services that all children in Texas needs! Good think I am an optimist. JoAnn
In 2006 when I decided to write a book about special education and lies, I was shocked to find out that nobody had beat me to the punch, and written this type of book. I have been lied to many times over the years in my special education advocacy, (for my two children and for other children that I advocated for). In 2007 I self published “Disability Deception.” The book was well received by many parents, who had experienced lies as I had.
Shortly after the book came out I heard from a mother in Texas that said “Disability Deception saved my sanity!” I had to chuckle about that, but the mom went on to say that she knew something was wrong, but could not figure out what it was. She stated she loved the book and appreciated the honesty, and the advocacy tips that are given throughout the book.
To finish this blog I would like to post a small amount of the Disability Deception Introduction to the book:
“In 1984, my daughter Angelina who had a disability, turned three years old and began to receive special education services, through my local school district. It was at that time, that I was
told the first lie, by school personnel. The person stated “If Angelina was to get therapy, I had to pay for it.” Being a
parent, who didn’t know my rights, Angelina received
no therapy for several months,
which caused her to lose the progress she had made in the Early Intervention System (EIS). Another parent finally told me about parental and student rights (the Education for all
Handicapped Children Act), and I was able to get the school district to pay for
Angelina’s needed therapies.
I have been lied to many times over the years, both for my own children, and when I am advocating for other people’s
children. Sometimes, I immediately
recognized that I was being lied to, and
other times, I did not. That is why I decided to write this book; to help a new generation of parents recognize when educators are lying to them-- and how parents, for the
benefit of their child, can beat educators at
their own game. That being said, I have had the privilege to work with some excellent educators who are always honest. Unfortunately, those educators who are not truthful, give the honest educators a bad name.”
Be sure and check out my lower price on Slaying Education Dragons at Amazon!
Disability Deception continues to be $5.00 plus shipping.