Trio Of Dyslexia Related Bills In Legislature Seeks Funding, Other Help For Kids With The Reading Disability

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Image 1 of 48 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivers the State of the State Address in the House Chamber of the Texas Capitol on Jan. 31, 2017. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivers the State of the State Address in the House Chamber of the Texas Capitol on Jan. 31, 2017. Photo: Tom Reel, Staff Image 2 of 48

Senate Bill 160; Eliminates 8.5 percent cap on special education enrollment, bars state from establishing future performance indicators based on enrollment;

Filed 11/14/2016; Passed Legislature, signed by the governor May 21.  

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Senate Bill 160; Eliminates 8.5 percent cap on special education enrollment, bars state from establishing future performance indicators based on enrollment;

Filed 11/14/2016; Passed Legislature, signed by the

... more Photo: Houston Chronicle Image 3 of 48

Senate Bill 1153; Requires school districts notify and provide detail to parents if their child is receiving special assistance for potential learning disabilities, also requires the state collect data on the number of students in each district receiving Response to Intervention or other special education services;

Filed 2/28,2017; Awaiting final vote in Senate to agree with minor House changes

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Senate Bill 1153; Requires school districts notify and provide detail to parents if their child is receiving special assistance for potential learning disabilities, also requires the state collect data on the

... more Photo: Houston Chronicle Image 4 of 48

House Bill 3437; Requires Texas Education Agency to notify parents the 8.5 percent enrollment cap has been abolished, outline how parents can pursue screening for special education services, would also set aside federal funding to reimburse school districts experiencing a significant increase in special education screenings;

Filed 3/08/2017; Died on non-controversial calendar after falling victim to political gamesmanship 

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House Bill 3437; Requires Texas Education Agency to notify parents the 8.5 percent enrollment cap has been abolished, outline how parents can pursue screening for special education services, would also set

... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle, Houston Chronicle Image 5 of 48 Image 6 of 48 Senate Bill 927, Requires Texas Education Agency to notify parents the 8.5 percent enrollment cap has been abolished, outline how parents can pursue screening for special education services, would also set aside federal funding to reimburse school districts experiencing a significant increase in special education screenings;

Filed 2/16/2017; Left pending in Senate Education Committee. 

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Senate Bill 927, Requires Texas Education Agency to notify parents the 8.5 percent enrollment cap has been abolished, outline how parents can pursue screening for special education services, would also set ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff Image 7 of 48

Senate Bill 529;  Improves training and staff development pertaining to accommodations and students with disabilities;

Filed 1/19/2017; Passed Senate, waiting to be scheduled for House vote 

Senate Bill 529;  Improves training and staff development pertaining to accommodations and students with disabilities;

Filed 1/19/2017; Passed Senate, waiting to be scheduled for House vote 

Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 8 of 48

Senate Bill 436: Writes new rules to increase stakeholder and parent input at special education continuing advisory committee;

Filed 1/6/2017; Passed Senate, scheduled for a House vote Wednesday

Senate Bill 436: Writes new rules to increase stakeholder and parent input at special education continuing advisory committee;

Filed 1/6/2017; Passed Senate, scheduled for a House vote Wednesday

Photo: Houston Chronicle Image 9 of 48

House Bill 21; Revises how the state funds public education, includes additional funding for students with dyslexia. Has been amended to include education scholarship accounts for students with special needs to attend private schools using taxpayer dollars; Filed 3/6/2017;

Passed both chambers in different forms, awaiting House vote on changes

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House Bill 21; Revises how the state funds public education, includes additional funding for students with dyslexia. Has been amended to include education scholarship accounts for students with special needs to

... more Photo: Houston Chronicle Image 10 of 48 Image 11 of 48

Senate Bill 748; Creates a transition guide for students phasing out of public schools into adulthood; Filed 2/6/2017;

Passed Senate, scheduled for House vote Wednesday.

Senate Bill 748; Creates a transition guide for students phasing out of public schools into adulthood; Filed 2/6/2017;

Passed Senate, scheduled for House vote Wednesday.

Photo: Houston C, Houston Chronicle Image 12 of 48

House Bill 713, sponsored by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, would prohibit Texas from ever again setting a target for the percentage of students that should receive special education services. (Three similar proposals have been introduced: HB 363, by Republican Dan Huberty of Humble, SB 160, by Democrat Jose Rodriguez of El Paso and SB 214, by Democrat Jose Menendez of San Antonio). Status as of May 2017: Bill reported out of House committee on Public Education (with vote of 7 Ayes, 0 Nays, 0 Present Not Voting, 4 Absent).

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House Bill 713, sponsored by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, would prohibit Texas from ever again setting a target for the percentage of students that should receive special education services. (Three similar

... more Photo: David Williams, Austin Ridesharing Image 13 of 48 House Bill 3599, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, would boost transparency and reduce abuse of “Response to Intervention,” a set of instructional strategies that many schools have used to delay access to special education for kids with disabilities and thus drive down their special education enrollments. (Two similar proposals have been introduced: SB 1153, by Democrat Jose Menendez of San Antonio and SB 2081, by Republican Larry Taylor of Houston). Status as of May 2017: No action less House Bill 3599, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, would boost transparency and reduce abuse of “Response to Intervention,” a set of instructional strategies that many schools have used to ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 14 of 48 House Bill 868, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, would boost early identification of dyslexia and increase funding for services to help students with dyslexia who have been denied access to special education. Status as of May 2017: No action less House Bill 868, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, would boost early identification of dyslexia and increase funding for services to help students with dyslexia who have been denied access to ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 15 of 48 Image 16 of 48 Senate Bill 1210, sponsored by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would create a Special Education Program Review Advisory Committee to study special education policies and practices. Status as of May 2017: Bill reported out of Senate committee on Business & Commerce (with vote of 8 Ayes, 0 Nays, 0 Present Not Voting, 1 Absent) and passed the Senate. less Senate Bill 1210, sponsored by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would create a Special Education Program Review Advisory Committee to study special education policies and practices. Status as of May 2017: ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 17 of 48 House Bill 4226, sponsored by state Rep. Tomas Uresti, D-San Antonio, would require more input in the setting of state special education policies, in part to prevent the Texas Education Agency from ever again adopting a harmful policy without parent input. (One similar proposal has been introduced: SB 439, by Democrat Jose Rodriguez of El Paso). Status as of May 2017: Bill reported out of House committee on Public Education (with vote of 8 Ayes, 0 Nays, 0 Present Not Voting, 3 Absent). less House Bill 4226, sponsored by state Rep. Tomas Uresti, D-San Antonio, would require more input in the setting of state special education policies, in part to prevent the Texas Education Agency from ever again ... more Photo: Ashley Landis, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS Image 18 of 48 House Bill 3369, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, would change state policies to focus more on English Language Learners with disabilities, a group that has been especially shut out of special education in Texas. Status as of May 2017: Bill reported out of House committee on Public Education (with vote of 11 Ayes, 0 Nays, 0 Present Not Voting, 0 Absent). less House Bill 3369, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, would change state policies to focus more on English Language Learners with disabilities, a group that has been especially shut out of special ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 19 of 48

House Bill 21; Revises how the state funds public education, includes additional funding for students with dyslexia. Has been amended to include education scholarship accounts for students with special needs to attend private schools using taxpayer dollars; Filed 3/6/2017;

Passed both chambers in different forms, awaiting House vote on changes

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House Bill 21; Revises how the state funds public education, includes additional funding for students with dyslexia. Has been amended to include education scholarship accounts for students with special needs to

... more Photo: Houston Chronicle Image 20 of 48 Image 21 of 48

Senate Bill 436: Writes new rules to increase stakeholder and parent input at special education continuing advisory committee;

Filed 1/6/2017; Passed Senate, scheduled for a House vote Wednesday

Senate Bill 436: Writes new rules to increase stakeholder and parent input at special education continuing advisory committee;

Filed 1/6/2017; Passed Senate, scheduled for a House vote Wednesday

Photo: Houston Chronicle Image 22 of 48 Roanin Walker, now 7, has been diagnosed with a disability similar to autism and can get overwhelmed by crowds or commotion. Roanin Walker, now 7, has been diagnosed with a disability similar to autism and can get overwhelmed by crowds or commotion. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff Image 23 of 48 Heidi Walker sits across from her son Roanin Walker, 7, while he studies at his home classroom in Kingwood, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Heidi and her husband decided to homeschool Roanin this academic year after he was denied special education. Roanin has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, anxiety and sensory processing disorder. less Heidi Walker sits across from her son Roanin Walker, 7, while he studies at his home classroom in Kingwood, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Heidi and her husband decided to homeschool Roanin this academic year after ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 24 of 48 A reader weighs in: Since special ed students are twice as expensive to educate, and with the federal government paying only one-fifth of the extra costs, our Texas Education Agency has devised a system that would produce savings on the backs of the children who can least afford to be neglected. Every citizen of Texas should be outraged.

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A reader weighs in: Since special ed students are twice as expensive to educate, and with the federal government paying only one-fifth of the extra costs, our Texas Education Agency has devised a system that ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff Image 25 of 48 Image 26 of 48 Heidi Walker hoped that school administrators would help her son, Roanin, adapt and cope when he entered kindergarten. Heidi Walker hoped that school administrators would help her son, Roanin, adapt and cope when he entered kindergarten. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff Image 27 of 48 Roanin Walker, 7, tries to calm down his anxious dog Mayhem by speaking to him softly and petting him. Roanin suffers from anxiety and and sensory processing disorder. His family are concern that by not acquiring appropriate special education, he won't succeed in school. His mother says that he went from loving school to repeatedly asking her to homeschool him and showing signs of depression. Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Kingwood. less Roanin Walker, 7, tries to calm down his anxious dog Mayhem by speaking to him softly and petting him. Roanin suffers from anxiety and and sensory processing disorder. His family are concern that by not ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 28 of 48 Steven Smith, 11, was born with autism and without functional hands. Smith depends mostly on the use of computers to do his school work. While Smith and his family lived in Illinois he was provided a laptop by the school for his homework but when he moved back to Texas, Doss Elementary told the family they would have to wait eight weeks for an evaluation for this to be even considered even though his paperwork stated that he needs a laptop based on his orthopedic impairment. Smith has had over 10 surgeries to build a functional hand. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Leander. less Steven Smith, 11, was born with autism and without functional hands. Smith depends mostly on the use of computers to do his school work. While Smith and his family lived in Illinois he was provided a laptop by ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 29 of 48 A silhouette of Steven Smith, 11, is seen through a bookshelf in his bedroom in Leander while he uses his home desktop computer. Smith was born with autism and without functional hands. Smith depends mostly on the use of computers to do his school work. While Smith and his family lived in Illinois he was provided a laptop by the school for his homework but when he moved back to Texas, Doss Elementary told the family they would have to wait eight weeks for an evaluation for this to be even considered even though his his doctors stated that he needs a laptop based on his orthopedic impairment. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Leander. less A silhouette of Steven Smith, 11, is seen through a bookshelf in his bedroom in Leander while he uses his home desktop computer. Smith was born with autism and without functional hands. Smith depends mostly on ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 30 of 48 Image 31 of 48 Steven Smith, 11, was born with autism and has had over 10 surgeries to build a functional hand because he was born without any thumbs nor the basic hand bones. Steven Smith's parents struggled to obtain special education services for autism and orthopedic impairment. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Leander. less Steven Smith, 11, was born with autism and has had over 10 surgeries to build a functional hand because he was born without any thumbs nor the basic hand bones. Steven Smith's parents struggled to obtain ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 32 of 48 Willie Ruiz, 53, boxes with his son Marco Ruiz, 11, at their home in Alice, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Marco Ruiz is a student who used to receive special education until he was eliminated from the program. Now his parents are trying to get him help he needs. less Willie Ruiz, 53, boxes with his son Marco Ruiz, 11, at their home in Alice, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Marco Ruiz is a student who used to receive special education until he was eliminated from the program. Now his ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 33 of 48 Willie Ruiz, 53, inserts the hand of his son Marco Ruiz, 11, into a boxing glove before practicing together outside their home in Alice, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Willie Ruiz is trying to get the Alice ISD to start providing again special education to his son. less Willie Ruiz, 53, inserts the hand of his son Marco Ruiz, 11, into a boxing glove before practicing together outside their home in Alice, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Willie Ruiz is trying to get the Alice ISD to start ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 34 of 48 Marco Ruiz is a student who used to receive special education until he was eliminated from the program. Now his parents are trying to get him help he needs.

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Alice.

Marco Ruiz is a student who used to receive special education until he was eliminated from the program. Now his parents are trying to get him help he needs.

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Alice.

Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 35 of 48 Image 36 of 48 Joseph Espinoza, 17, has been diagnosed with several conditions that limit his ability to learn as part of a general education class. Espinoza has been diagnosed with autism, depression, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder just to name a few. In January 2012, Espinoza was admitted into special education, but three years later, the school removed him from the program. Quickly his grades suffered and he started to fail his classes. less Joseph Espinoza, 17, has been diagnosed with several conditions that limit his ability to learn as part of a general education class. Espinoza has been diagnosed with autism, depression, anxiety disorder, ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 37 of 48 Joseph Espinoza, 17, writes in his bedroom in College Station, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Espinoza enjoys writing and reading about science fiction. Espinoza has been diagnosed with autism, depression, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder just to name a few. In January 2012, Espinoza was admitted into special education, but three years later, the school removed him from the program. Quickly his grades suffered and he started to fail his classes. less Joseph Espinoza, 17, writes in his bedroom in College Station, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Espinoza enjoys writing and reading about science fiction. Espinoza has been diagnosed with autism, depression, anxiety ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 38 of 48 Joseph Espinoza, 17, catches a football ball against his younger brother Benjamin Espinoza, 6, in the backyard of their home in College Station, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. After three years in special education, he was removed from the program by the school. His mother says, his grades declined and he started failing his classes. less Joseph Espinoza, 17, catches a football ball against his younger brother Benjamin Espinoza, 6, in the backyard of their home in College Station, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. After three years in special education, ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 39 of 48 Michael Crighton, 12, dries his tears after getting emotional recalling not being able to keep up with his classmates during class. Crighton was born premature at 24 weeks and has been diagnosed with autism. While he was a student in the general education, Crighton would often get overstimulated and hide under his desk during class. Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in The Woodlands. less Michael Crighton, 12, dries his tears after getting emotional recalling not being able to keep up with his classmates during class. Crighton was born premature at 24 weeks and has been diagnosed with autism. ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 40 of 48 Image 41 of 48 Michael Crighton, 12, takes a look at all the paperwork his mother has collected over the years related to his struggles in school. Crighton has autism and get easily overwhelmed. His mother also kept the writing work he would do in school as a way to be able to negotiate with the school to get him the services Crighton needs. Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in The Woodlands. less Michael Crighton, 12, takes a look at all the paperwork his mother has collected over the years related to his struggles in school. Crighton has autism and get easily overwhelmed. His mother also kept the ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 42 of 48 Lisa Odom embraces her son Michael Crighton, 12, after he became emotional remembering not being able to keep up with his classmates during class. Crighton was born premature at 24 weeks and has been diagnosed with autism. While he was a student in the general education, Crighton would often get overstimulated and hide under his desk during class. Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in The Woodlands. less Lisa Odom embraces her son Michael Crighton, 12, after he became emotional remembering not being able to keep up with his classmates during class. Crighton was born premature at 24 weeks and has been diagnosed ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 43 of 48 Alston Kliebert Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Frankston. Alston Kliebert Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Frankston. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 44 of 48 Jacell Rodriguez, 15, is reflected on a glass in her bedroom in San Antonio. Rodriguez suffers from mental illness which is limiting her performance at school. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in San Antonio. Jacell Rodriguez, 15, is reflected on a glass in her bedroom in San Antonio. Rodriguez suffers from mental illness which is limiting her performance at school. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in San Antonio. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 45 of 48 Image 46 of 48 Demarcus Fuller, 12, is a student at Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan has been struggling at school and in March 2016, he suffered a breakdown. His mother has asked the school to evaluate him so he can receive special education. Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Houston. less Demarcus Fuller, 12, is a student at Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan has been struggling at school and in March 2016, he suffered a breakdown. His mother has asked the school to evaluate him so he ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 47 of 48 Ashley Rodriguez, 9, plays with her toys in her parents bedroom after dinner, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Pflugerville. Rodriguez is a fifth grader who recently got placed in special education after years of struggles by her parents to get her services. The school refused to provide special education. RodriguezÕs parents were told that immigrants could not get special ed and that they couldnÕt fight it. less Ashley Rodriguez, 9, plays with her toys in her parents bedroom after dinner, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Pflugerville. Rodriguez is a fifth grader who recently got placed in special education after years of ... more Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Image 48 of 48 Texas lawmakers debate special ed; bills calls for more funding for autism, dyslexia services 1 / 48 Back to Gallery

AUSTIN - After six months of talking about the need to fix Texas' embattled special education system, state lawmakers are getting to work.

The House Public Education Committee is holding hearings today on a half-dozen different pieces of legislation related to special education. It will be the first chance for many parents to speak with lawmakers since the Houston Chronicle revealed that Texas had set a de facto cap on the percentage of students who could receive special ed services, blocking tens of thousands of students with disabilities from needed help.

The proposals set to be heard today include bills to prohibit the state from ever again capping special education enrollments and to increase funding for services for children with autism and kids with dyslexia. Another piece of legislation would study the impact of standardized tests on students with disabilities.

They are the first of dozens of ideas to help students who were harmed by the cap, expand teacher training, boost transparency of special instructional programs, get more parent input in state policy making and put more focus on English language learners in special education, among other proposals.

Overall, lawmakers have filed 51 special education bills this year, including 16 written directly in response to the Chronicle's findings. During the last legislative session, lawmakers filed 30 bills related to special ed.

See a slideshow of bills being discussed above. 

Watch the hearings live and read more about the bills on our subscriber website, HoustonChronicle.com. Click here to read Denied, a Houston Chronicle investigation into a Texas special education enrollment target that has kept tens of thousands of disabled kids from receiving services, prompting federal action

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Source : http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Lawmakers-to-start-debating-special-education-11048954.php

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