AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter Thursday to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath, directing him to take immediate steps to reform special education in Texas.
The directive follows a report sent Thursday to TEA from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) regarding compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In his letter to Morath, Abbott expressed his deep concern with the current state of special education in Texas and stated that more must be done to adequately address the needs of our most vulnerable students.
"The past dereliction of duty on the part of many school districts to serve our students, and the failure of TEA to hold districts accountable, are worthy of criticism," said Abbott. "TEA must take steps now to significantly increase the oversight provided to ensure our special education students are receiving the services they deserve. But while the problems identified in the report started long before your arrival at TEA, our parents and students demand significant actions be taken now to improve special education in Texas."
While federal officials have provided no definitive timeline for TEA, Abbott has called for an initial corrective action plan draft within the next seven days.
Following the completion of the initial plan, it will be shared with representatives of parent groups and special education advocacy groups, as well as administrators and educators throughout the state.
Additionally, Abbott has asked TEA to develop potential legislative recommendations that will help ensure local school districts are in compliance with all federal and state laws regarding special education.