Validated by scathing report, HISD special ed advocates question whether state can deliver change

After spending nearly two decades working in Houston ISD and four years fighting to get special education services for her second grade daughter, Nicole Tripp predicted state investigators reviewing the district’s handling of students with disabilities would find extensive issues.

As she expected, the Texas Education Agency released a blistering report late Tuesday that documented numerous violations of special education laws in HISD, findings that mirrored Tripp’s experience as a parent and former employee.

“You’re going to have some factors outside of the district’s control, but I do think that what I saw in HISD, before leaving, was intentional mismanagement that I don’t see in other districts,” said Tripp, who worked in HISD’s special education department from 2000 to 2018, most recently as an assistive technology specialist leader.

The state’s wide-ranging report on Houston ISD’s special education department, the result of an 11-month investigation into Texas’ largest school district, validated

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COVID-19 Education Relief: Congress Dithers and Advocates Fume


The education community’s optimism about a big pandemic relief package from Uncle Sam has curdled into dismay and frustration. And with a presidential election and furor over a Supreme Court nomination at the top of Washington’s agenda, it’s possible that it will go bad beyond all recognition.

Ever since President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus relief bill in late March in the pandemic’s earliest phase, educators warned that looming state and local K-12 budget cuts amounting to billions of dollars, along with safety concerns from school communities caused by the coronavirus, required another response and more resources that only the federal government could provide.

Leaders from both parties in Congress publicly and vigorously agreed. They pronounced repeatedly that something had to be done to help education beyond the roughly $13 billion for K-12 schools included in the CARES Act and an additional $3 billion it provided for governors to

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Advocates: Special education struggling in New Mexico | Legislature | New Mexico Legislative Session

Special-education students in New Mexico’s public school system are getting overlooked and underserved during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and advocates told state lawmakers Thursday.

As they discussed the many challenges facing kids with disabilities — the lack of in-person and ancillary services and a reliance on untrained parents to teach children learning remotely from home as school campuses remain closed — advocates suggested the state’s special-education system is broken. 

“School districts are struggling to provide special-education needs as it is,” Laurel Nesbitt, an attorney with the nonprofit Disability Rights New Mexico, told members of the newly formed Legislative Disabilities Concerns Subcommittee during a remote meeting Thursday. 

Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, the parent of an adult with a disability, put it in blunt terms. Describing what it’s like to walk into a room full of strangers poised to evaluate your child, she said, “It’s adversarial — it’s you against the world,

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