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Ed. Dept. to Investigate 12 Texas Districts Over Special Education Enrollment

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that 12 school districts in Texas will be investigated about their policies to identify and serve children with disabilities. 

The paper says that the districts under scrutiny are Aldine (Houston), Austin, Del Valle (Austin), Ector County (Odessa) Everman (Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area), Fort Bend (Houston), Harlandale (San Antonio), Houston, Laredo, Leander (Austin,) North East (San Antonio) and United (Laredo). 

The investigation stems from an investigation from the Houston Chronicle that found many Texas school districts had kept their special education enrollment rates down to meet a state benchmark of 8.5 percent. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires school districts to identify and evaluate children for suspected disabilities, a process described in the law as "child find."

The Texas Education Agency has said that the 8.5 percent figure was meant to be a guideline for districts to prevent overidentification, not a hard cap. In a letter to districts last year, the state also reminded districts of their child find responsibilities. 

In the wake of the investigation, the Education Department conducted a listening tour in five Texas cities last year, and also allowed parents to submit comments directly to the department through its website. 

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