Education News

HISD’s Special Ed Committee Holds First Full Meeting

One job for the group is to pick a company to audit HISD’s special ed program.

There has been public outrage over special education in Texas since an investigation revealed the state had a benchmark for enrollment since 2004.
There has been public outrage over special education in Texas since an investigation revealed the state had a benchmark for enrollment since 2004. Dozens spoke at a federal listening session in December.

A new committee on special education is finally ramping up at HISD, with the task to examine how the district evaluates students for special ed.

The group officially formed in January and got its full roster earlier this month, with parents, educators and special ed experts. Together, the 15 members will study special ed in Houston schools.

The chair, HISD Trustee Anne Sung, said that the first full meeting Thursday is private.

“This first meeting is not public because it’s a planning meeting,” Sung said. “It’s an opportunity for the committee members to get to know each other and to share even very personal stories about their and their children’s experiences in the special education department in HISD.”

Sung said that she’ll let the committee decide if they want to continue their work in private, or open the meetings to the public. She added that all minutes from the meeting will be public and she hopes to have some community forums.

One job for the group is to pick a company to audit HISD’s special ed program.

It’s all in the wake of a Houston Chronicle investigation. Back in September, it revealed a state benchmark encouraged districts to limit how many disabled kids received expensive services.

For some parents, too much time has already passed.

“My frustration is to me this is such a big topic and such an urgent problem, they should be devoting time on their agenda every month until it gets taken care of and they’re not doing that,” said Sarah Becker, a mom and a licensed specialist in school psychology.

As HISD starts its work, federal officials are finishing their own statewide investigation. They expect to release that report by June.

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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