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I-Team: Demand Letter Sent To TEA To Eliminate Special Education Cap

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The state's largest coalition of disability rights advocates sent the Texas Education Agency (TEA) a demand letter Monday.

The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) is asking the TEA and its Commissioner Mike Morath to make good on his promise to eliminate a cap on special education enrollment.

Despite the promise from the TEA, disability rights advocates said they are unaware of any steps the state has taken to remove the 8.5 percent policy which was implemented in 2004.

Back in October, the CBS 11 I-Team reported on the dramatic drop in special education enrollment in Texas public schools.

According to state education reports, special education enrollment state-wide has dropped since 2004 from 11.2 percent to 8.5 percent of the student population, ranking Texas at the bottom of all states at providing services for students with disabilities.

The numbers have been on the decline ever since the state included a special education enrollment benchmark of 8.5 percent in a district's performance report.

Local families have shared their struggles with the I-Team about the difficulties in getting schools to even test their children for special education services.

The TEA said it never intended to discourage schools from testing students and never punished schools that exceeded the benchmark.

Last month hundreds of Texas families attended "listening sessions" across the state organized by the TEA and US Department of Education.  During these sessions, parents voiced their frustrations with their children being denied special education services.

The US Department of Education plans to conduct an on-site visit with TEA staff next month as part of a federal investigation.

You can follow the I-Team's reporting on this issue here:

I-Team: Texas Schools Failing To Evaluate Thousands Of Students For Special Ed (original report)

I-Team: TEA Pens Letter Denying It Capped Special Ed Enrollment

I-Team: Feds Listen To Claims Of Children Denied Special Education Services

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