TEA delivers blistering report on HISD’s special education program, recommends state oversight

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The Texas Education Agency released a scathing report on HISD’s special education program Tuesday following a lengthy investigation by its Special Investigations Unit.

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Investigators found HISD has violated special education requirements and “the noncompliance is significant, systemic and widespread.”


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The 88-page report cites the “historical failure of the Houston Independent School District to fulfill its obligations to provide appropriate — and legally required — specialized services to its students with disabilities.”

State investigators accuse HISD of failing its disabled students for at least a decade and all but ignoring previous reports demanding change. 

“Perhaps more troubling than these historical findings concerns the district’s lack of serious initiative, rather yet success, in attempting to take corrective action to reform its systems,” the report said.

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SIU recommendations

  • SIU is recommending to the Commissioner of Education that a conservator be installed in HISD who will make changes to improve special education services in the district.
  • Appoint an agency monitor to participate in and report to the TEA on the activities of the HISD board of trustees or superintendent.
  • Order HISD to prepare a student achievement improvement plan that addresses problem areas in special education.
  • Order a hearing to be held before the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee at which the president of the HISD board of trustees and the district’s superintendent shall explain the district’s low performance, lack of improvement, and plans for improvement.

HISD response

HISD released the following statement in response to the report:

“We are disappointed with the outcome of the investigation and believe it is factually and legally incorrect. Much of the report is devoted to years-old