About Karen Dalglish Seal

DisAbility Advocates:

Dedicated to providing information to individuals with disabilities, their families, their friends and their service providers.


What is Wrong with the Special Education Due Process System?

Money and an imbalance of power explain the failure of the Due Process System in

Texas. Parents come into the system at a disadvantage. They are placed in an uneven playing field.. The District has its paid specialists–psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, teachers, physical therapists, etc. Parents, for the most part, lack the resources to fight back. In a due process hearing, all of the District’s paid experts can be summoned and will testify for the District. Those experts will testify before a special education hearing officer trained by the Texas Education Agency, an bureaucracy composed largely of former school employees that has close ties to the school district. In the end, against hired guns (school experts) with a hearing officer trained to favor the Districts, the parents bear the burden of proof. It’s a long shot, at best, that parents will prevail. As a result, the Districts continue their ineffective teaching and relegate their students with special needs to overburdened teachers and staff who often lack the necessary training, skills and support to function effectively.

What is the solution?

The solution requires a change in the system. I.D.E.I.A. is federal law. It needs to be enforced and to do that the government must establish an organization that will promote a fair system.

We recommend establishing an organization that would:

ñ  Train neutral hearing officers and maintain a staff of experts in the field of special education.

ñ  Audit and post hearing results.

ñ  Provide parental access to experts who could attend hearings and testify about the needs of the child.

ñ  Assure that outcomes are based on rational premises. For example, if the child has failed two grades and has a disability, then the premise should be that an educational need exists.

Letter to Congressman Ciro Rodriguez US House District 23

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