Dallas Making Progress on Special Education But Gaps Persist

Dallas ISD is significantly expanding access to special education services but the school district still struggles with overwhelmed teachers and spotty training, a consultant says.Amid a federal investigation that found many Texas schools denied children services to keep enrollment down, Dallas overhauled its program hoping to ensure that students who needed help received it.A consultant who presented an evaluation of DISD’s special ed program to trustees on Thursday praised the district for major gains -- such as adding about 3,000 students who are served annually -- but said overworked educators and optional training means requirements aren’t always being met. Various federal and state mandates dictate how to serve children in special education.Denise Collier, a consultant and former DISD administrator, gave trustees her progress report nearly two years after she highlighted deficiencies in a review that found Latino students in particular were struggling to get access to special education.DISD’s chief academic officer Ivonne Durant said Collier’s blunt reviews are part of the process to improve.“I like getting the information. It just hurts a little bit,” Durant said.  Continue reading...

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