Implementation Support for TEA Special Education Strategic Plan

The Need

The state of Texas provides special education services to approximately 500,000 students. However, only 41 percent of these students are approaching grade-level knowledge and skills in reading and math, compared to 75 percent of all Texas students who are approaching grade level. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) was recently required by U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to address several issues that have contributed to an under-identification of students with disabilities in the state who need special education services through a Free and Appropriate Public Education. Among these issues, several relate to training, support, and development that require external expertise to address, including limited technical assistance experience of newly hired TEA staff, the need for improvements in educator preparation and continuing education requirements for certified teachers to include a more explicit focus on special education practices and on specially designed instruction within core instruction, and the continued shortage of teachers who are highly qualified to teach students who require special education services.

TXCC Response

TXCC will provide professional development to TEA to increase staff expertise and the ability to provide high-quality technical assistance to districts that ensures compliance with the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. TXCC will also facilitate meetings of a special education forum that will examine pre-service and in-service certification requirements for educators with the goal of strengthening instructional practices for eligible students in special education programs.