East Texas instructors hope TEA's new plan to overhaul special education a step in right direction

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

In the final plan, the Texas Education Agency is deploying what they call a strategic plan for special education.

TEA posted their plans after federal officials found that the state had illegally placed a cap on services that in essence denied some students with disabilities for years.

The special education instructor at Woden ISD said, because they are a small school district, they are grateful for the array of resources.

"Special ed has been much better than it has been in the past primarily because of the district I'm in I know other districts have problems with numbers," said Carl Franks, an intervention specialist.

Directors overseeing the special education and student services program at Lufkin ISD, however, point out their concerns with the new plan.

They call the plan ambiguous and said it lacks definitive answers for what the US Department of Education is looking for.

"There's a lot of issues. It's mostly focused on monitoring districts instead of helping districts improve. Ways to help children with special needs," said Deidra Harrison, the executive director of student services.

In fact, the final draft is made of four components: monitoring, identification and placement, training, and community engagement. All efforts to meet the requirements imposed by the federal education agency which price tag of $211 million dollars.

"That does not include the costs that local districts will also incur and staffing up in anticipation of what could be a new wave of kids entering the special education system," said Mark Wiggins, a lobbyist with Association of Texas Professional Educators. "But it's important to note that these are changes that need to happen because these kids need these services, and they are legally entitled to these services."

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - In the meantime, the educators are waiting to see what unfolds next.

The posted plan is open for public comment. The deadline for that is set for April 6 before it's submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright 2018 KTRE. All rights reserved.