Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Facing pressure to cut special education, Texas schools shut out English Language Learners - Houston Chronicle

Facing pressure to cut special education, Texas schools shut out English Language Learners - Houston Chronicle:

Facing pressure to cut special education, Texas schools shut out English Language Learners

Alexia Stamatis, 13, has been diagnosed with autism, epilepsy and hypotonia, a muscle disorder. But when her mother asked Houston Independent School District to evaluate her for special education, a teacher told her there was a “waiting list.” Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle / © 2016 Houston Chronicle
Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Alexia Stamatis, 13, has been diagnosed with autism, epilepsy and hypotonia, a muscle disorder. But when her mother asked Houston Independent School District to evaluate her for special education, a teacher told her there was a “waiting list.”

VICTORIA – Refugees, immigrants and other kids who do not speak English are entitled to the same special education services as native speakers. But in this Southeast Texas city, they seldom get them.
Just 39 of the nearly 1,000 English Language Learners here receive services like tutoring, counseling and speech therapy, 70 percent fewer per capita than a decade ago.
Many more need help, but usually, teachers say, their pleas are ignored.
"It's almost impossible to get my kids into special ed," said Arlene De Los Santos of Patti Welder Middle School. "They have to have very, very severe needs for the school to even consider it."
The situation in Victoria exemplifies a new reality playing out across Texas.
From Beaumont to El Paso, school districts facing pressure to lower their special education numbers have decided to do it by shutting out thousands of English Language Learners, the Houston Chronicle has found.
Districts have used a range of tactics, from refusing to conduct eligibility evaluations in other languages or accept medical records from other countries to blaming language barriers for Facing pressure to cut special education, Texas schools shut out English Language Learners - Houston Chronicle:


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