Comment on Access to Special Education Services at a Listening Session

Texas Listening Sessions with image of apply atop text books
Comments can be provided at one of five listening sessions or online.

Access to Special Education Services Listening Sessions

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will be conducting a series of listening sessions in Texas during the week of December 12.

In an October 3 Letter to Honorable Mike Morath, Commissioner, Texas Education Agency[1.], OSERS raised concerns regarding Texas’s compliance with a number of requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The letter references the Houston Chronicle’s investigative report, “Denied: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education.” The report claims that children with disabilities in Texas have been systematically denied access to special education services for the last ten years. TEA responded to OSERS with the Texas Education Agency Response to OSERS letter[2.] on November 2.

In December, OSERS and TEA will conduct five listening sessions (details below) to provide Texans with an opportunity to provide comment regarding the timely identification, evaluation, and the appropriate provision of special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities under IDEA. OSERS and TEA are interested in hearing from the public, including parents, family members, students, advocates, school personnel, and other stakeholders.

If you are unable to attend a listening session, you can provide written comments on the OSERS blog post, “Texas Listening Sessions”[3.] from December 5, 2016 to January 6, 2017.

Schedule and Locations for Listening Sessions

Listening sessions will be held in Austin, Dallas, Edinburg, El Paso, and Houston. Sign language interpreters and Spanish language translation will be available. If you require special accommodations, please contact the Education Service Center directly at the telephone number provided.

  • Dallas
    6:00 — 8:00 p.m., Monday, December 12
    Region 10 Education Service Center
    400 East Spring Valley Road
    Richardson, TX 75081

  • Houston
    6:00 — 8:00 p.m., Monday, December 12
    Region 4 Education Service Center
    McKinney Conference Center, Room 100 A–F
    7200 Northwest 100 Drive
    Houston, TX 77092

  • El Paso
    6:00 — 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 13
    Region 19 Education Service Center
    6611 Boeing Drive
    El Paso, TX 79925

  • Edinburg
    6:00 — 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 13
    Region 1 Education Service Center
    1900 West Schunior Street
    Edinburg, TX 78541

  • Austin
    6:00 — 8:00 p.m., Thursday, December 15
    Region 13 Education Service Center
    5701 Springdale Road
    Austin, TX 78723

More Information

Denied: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education