This week the U.S. Department of Education announced that the TEA has still failed to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The TEA had previously pledged to implement corrective actions to comply with the law after the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) found the TEA to be in violation of IDEA in 2018.
IDEA requires the TEA to ensure that all children with disabilities are identified and evaluated and to ensure that free and appropriate public education was made available to all people with disabilities from age 3 to 21.
After the TEA claimed it had completed all the required corrective actions in October 2020, OSEP found the TEA had completed only one of the many corrective actions it had pledged to implement. The TEA still needs to:
- ensure all school districts post online information about who is eligible to receive special education or an evaluation;
- provide documentation for the number of students who are referred for special ed evaluation, evaluated for special ed, and found to be eligible for special ed;
- outline its protocols for monitoring districts’ adherence to special ed laws and its procedures if districts are found to be noncompliant; and
- outline its protocols for giving additional support to students who were not evaluated, but later found to be eligible for special ed.
If the TEA does not rectify these changes, they could lose grant funding for special ed programs provided by the Department of the Education, according to the acting director of OSEP’s letter to the TEA commissioner. The letter stated the TEA has 30 days to make changes and provide documentation of those changes.