Houston ISD Special Education Audit: Full Report

Houston Independent School District (HISD) contracted with American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) to conduct a third-party, independent “Special Education Program Review.” AIR conducted this review over a 10-month period between May 2017 and February 2018. This report describes our assessment of HISD’s strengths and areas in need of improvement with respect to its special education program, and identifies recommendations for HISD to consider as it continues its efforts to improve services for students with disabilities in the district
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National testing vendor isn’t the solution to HISD’s special education crisis.

Thus far, this special education crisis has been a failure of the administration. That same administration just picked this vendor. If the board authorizes this contract and expects to rely on the output of this vendor as a material part of its response, the board will be a part of the problem rather than the beginning of the solution.
I suggest that the board table this vote, finish listening to parents, and then work out how, who and what will give them the independent information the need to put new policy and new expectations for the administration in place to end the crisis.
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Remarks to HISD School Board on Under-Identification of Special Education Students

So I’m here to ask you, our trustees, to do the right thing. The problem is complex and solutions aren’t easy or cheap. But you could start by making a statement as a body about how this situation is wrong and begin investigating what district policies constructed to such a low identification rate. I’m asking you to take affirmative action to show families that their children and their needs are important. The administration certainly hasn’t given us any indication they do.
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