TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – As part of its probe into whether student with disabilities in Texas are receiving the special education services they need, the U.S. Department of Education will visit a dozen Texas school districts in the coming months.
According to Texas Education Agency, the only district in North Texas on the feds’ list is Everman ISD in Tarrant County.
The other districts federal officials will visit include: North East, United, Ector County, Harlandale, Laredo, Del Valle, Fort Bend, Austin, Aldine, Leander, Houston, along with the TEA headquarters in Austin.
Everman ISD officials also told the CBS 11 News I-Team the district was “randomly selected” by the feds for the site visit. Although, the U.S. Department of Education has so far declined to say why these twelve districts were selected.
In December, federal officials heard from hundreds of parents during a series of “listening sessions” across the state. Parents shared stories of how Texas schools were delaying and even denying special education testing.
After the December “listening sessions”, the U.S. Department of Education sent the TEA a letter stating it has “serious concerns” about Texas’ declining special education enrollment numbers.
Since 2004, special education enrollment in Texas schools has dropped from 11.2 percent to 8.5 percent of the student population, according to state reports.
The 8.5 percent puts Texas below the national average of more than 13 percent of students receiving special education services.
According to TEA records, Everman ISD’s special education enrollment has dropped in the past years from 11.6 percent of the student body to 7.8 percent.
However, the district officials told the CBS 11 I-Team the total number of students it served in special education during the 2015-2016 school year was 10.6%.
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