FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2017
Edie Surtees, Communications Director
AUSTIN—Late yesterday the Texas Legislature sent a clear message that students with disabilities in Texas public schools cannot be denied access to full educational opportunity by arbitrary agency action.
The passage of SB 160 keeps the Texas Education Agency (TEA) from ever imposing a monitoring standard on school districts that limits the number of students who may be identified as a child in need of special education services. The 8.5 percent performance indicator once forced upon Texas schools that denied tens of thousands of students access to their rights is in the past with the House joining the Senate in approval of SB 160.
SB 160, introduced by Senator Rodriguez of El Paso, will ensure access to the special education process, with no consequences for school districts addressing needs of students with disabilities as they find them.
“Even though current TEA officials vowed to end the cap, this bill legally holds them to that promise,” said Steven Aleman, Attorney and Policy Specialist for Disability Rights Texas. “The bill ensures that future TEA commissioners have no latitude to disregard students with disabilities, thereby protecting students for generations to come.”
The bill next moves to the Governor’s desk for his consideration once the Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House add their signatures to the bill.
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Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. We are a nonprofit whose mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit www.DRTx.org for more information on our scope of services.