In response to TCTA-initiated legislation passed in 2015, TEA proposed rules to incorporate the changes made by SB 1259. TCTA pursued the legislation last session after TEA deleted key provisions benefiting special education students and their regular education teachers from its rules in January 2015.
SB 1259 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez restored those provisions in statute, including requiring that the regular education teacher who participates in an ARD meeting must, to the extent practicable, be a regular education teacher who will implement a portion of a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), that any other teacher who instructs a special education student can provide input into the development of the IEP, and that any member of the ARD (including the regular education teacher) can write a statement of disagreement if they disagree with the developed IEP.
TEA’s recent rule proposal included some but not all of the changes made by SB 1259. Accordingly, TCTA submitted comments and also testified at a TEA hearing on the proposed rules, pointing out that they did not contain important language from SB 1259 requiring that the regular education teacher who participates in an ARD committee meeting must be one who will implement a portion of the student’s IEP.
TCTA pointed out that even though the current rules require that a student's regular education teacher participate in the ARD committee if the student is or may be participating in the regular education environment, the SB 1259 language is important because it specifies which regular education teacher to include. TCTA explained that a special education student may have several regular education teachers but not all of them may be implementing the student’s IEP.
Additionally, the proposed rules did not include a provision in SB 1259 requiring that school districts have a process to be used by regular education teachers of special education students to provide input in the development of the student’s IEP. TCTA pointed out that inclusion of this language in the rules is necessary to clarify that even though all regular education teachers of the students aren’t necessarily required to be members of the ARD committee, they are all entitled to give input into the development of the student’s IEP.
TCTA will continue to monitor and report on developments on the proposed rules as they occur. TEA is expected to issue final rules once consideration of public testimony and comments is concluded.