The 78th Legislature amended the Texas Education Code (TEC), §26.0081, to require the Texas Education Agency to produce and give to school districts, including charter schools, a written explanation of the options and requirements for providing assistance to students who have learning difficulties or who need, or may need, special education. The explanation must state that the parent is entitled at any time to request evaluation for special education services.
The written statement must be distributed in written form to each parent every year. It may be included in the student handbook, or through other means such as a letter to each parent, newsletter to each parent, etc.
The requirement was designed to address issues resulting from an amendment to TEC, §29.004, which changed the trigger date for the 60-calendar day timeline for the completion of the full individual and initial evaluation of a student for special education services. Historically, the timeline started with the date of referral. The timeline now begins on the date the district receives informed written consent for the evaluation. The primary purposes of the written statement are to ensure that parents understand their right to request an evaluation of their child for special education services and to prevent any unnecessary or inappropriate delays in special education evaluations related to the failure to seek timely consent from parents.
The Student Handbook Statement has been revised to include the identification of students who have behavioral as well as academic difficulties. The State’s Behavior and Discipline Management Network for Students with Disabilities, through the Texas Behavior Support Initiative (TBSI), provides capacity building trainings and products for Education Service Center and Child-Serving Agency Network Representatives to use in regional level professional development and technical assistance activities with districts/charter schools and child-serving agencies. The Network’s goal is to support creation of a Positive Behavior Support System in the Texas public schools that will enable students with disabilities to receive special education supports and services in the least restrictive environment and all students to participate successfully in the TEKS-based curriculum and state assessment system. More information about TBSI can be found at http://www.txbsi.org/.
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Districts are encouraged to request technical assistance about implementing this state law from the special education contact at their regional education service centers.
Special Education Main Page
Texas Education Agency | Division of Special Education
1701 North Congress Avenue | Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Telephone: 512.463.9414 | Fax: 512.463.9560
Last Updated: June 12, 2006 | Created: April 26, 2004
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