Has Texas Kept Children with Special Needs Out of Special Education Classes?

A shocking new report from the Houston Chronicle reveals some very important information about how Texas schools have blocked special education for children with special needs. All to keep at an arbitrary 8.5% enrollment level, saving the state billions at the cost of children.

It’s infuriating to read, to say the least. Take a deep breath, then click here to read the Chronicle’s in-depth and exceptional piece.

We avoid summarizing anything found in the article in our own words to avoid taking credit away from the Houston Chronicle on this important reporting. The layers involved are significantly dense but, in short:

  • Teachers have been encouraged to divert children with special needs into other programs other than special education
  • School districts have taken the initiative to implement a wide variety of policies aimed at making enrollment more difficult, including requiring multiple teacher meetings, parent follow-up, providing parents lists of private schools to consider instead and more
  • It is estimated that somewhere around 250,000 children with special needs may have been kept out of special education courses
  • Children with Traumatic Brain Injuries saw a -18.4% change in the rate of children receiving special education support between 2004 and 2014.
  • Texas officials claim the drop was not due to the prescribed 8.5% special education enrollment figure but due to the ‘success’ of early intervention programs the school had implemented

This last point is quite shocking to say the least, with Texas officials claiming that the decrease is more a triumph of the education system than a neglectful act. Had their programs been so successful, Texas would be a model for the entire nation, perhaps the world, in the implementation of early intervention education. Instead, we believe children have been left behind and out of the special education coursework they so desperately need.


The bullets above are only a high level view of a very rich piece we, again, recommend you read for yourself. The stories of parents who had their petitions outright ignored as their child struggled with multiple grade levels are heartbreaking; the lack of facts behind claims this effort is anything but a cost cut will likely leave you as frustrated as us. We have no doubt this story will gain more traction with national news (it must, or else we’ve truly reached a sad point with awareness and advocacy!) but want to ensure we spoke on the topic. Far too often, children with special needs are left to rely solely upon their families to get anything approaching what they truly deserve in life. Cost-cutting efforts are just one of the periodic challenges families face while dealing with their own, everyday challenges.

For more information on increasing advocacy in your area, or to learn more about special education requirements and IEP options for your child, contact us today.