Jan 13, 2018

Dept. of Education: Texas withheld special education services from students

Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP / Getty Images

The New York Times reports that the Department of Education sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency, saying it violated federal law by setting a "target" percentage for the maximum number of students that would receive special education services.

Why it matters: From 2004 to 2017, Texas' target was 8.5% of enrollment, despite the state and national averages being around 12%, the NYT reports. Districts "were penalized for exceeding that benchmark." The difference in percentages of students served in Texas dropped from 11.6 to 8.6 from 2004 to 2016, per the NYT, which comes out to around 150,000 children.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said: "Every child with a disability must have appropriate access to special education and related services that meet his or her unique needs...Far too many students in Texas had been precluded from receiving supports and services."

  • This is the "first major state monitoring decision approved by...Betsy DeVos," the Times reports.
  • The Department ordered the Texas agency to come up with a plan that identifies neglected students and "figure out how to help them."
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave education officials seven days to draft a corrective action plan.
  • A 2016 investigation by the Houston Chronicle launched the federal review, after revealing that students with blindness, autism, dyslexia, mental illness, and more were being ignored.

Go deeper

Pandemic and protests can't stop the stock market

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

United States equities were on pace to open higher Monday following big gains in Asia and Europe and a risk-on bid in currency markets.

Why it matters: Stock markets could continue to rise despite an unprecedented global pandemic, violent protests over police violence in the U.S. not seen since the 1960s, and spiking tensions between the world's two largest economies.

2 hours ago - Sports

The sports world speaks up about death of George Floyd

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown. Screenshot: Jaylen Brown/Instagram

There was a time when a months-long sports absence would have silenced athletes, leaving them without a platform to reach fans or make their voices heard.

Why it matters: But now that athletes boast massive social media followings and no longer need live game broadcasts or media outlets to reach millions, they're speaking out en masse amid protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people — delivering messages of frustration and unity, despite their leagues not currently operating.

The technology of witnessing brutality

Charging Alabama state troopers pass by fallen demonstrators in Selma on March 7, 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

The ways Americans capture and share records of racist violence and police misconduct keep changing, but the pain of the underlying injustices they chronicle remains a stubborn constant.

Driving the news: After George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked wide protests, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said, “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it."