TEA SPED Review, Personnel Under Fire

Two weeks ago, the Texas Education Agency came under scrutiny after firing its new Special Education Director, Laurie Kash. Now, the TEA is facing attacks by special education advocacy groups and parents who say that the agency’s efforts to mine data regarding special education plans violates student privacy and cuts parents out of the loop.

Kash’s termination occurred prior to Thanksgiving and after allegations surfaced that she helped cover up the sexual abuse of a 6-year-old student while employed at a school district in Oregon. While Kash denies these allegations, she was sued by two school employees in Oregon on November 14th in a $1.85 million civil complaint regarding the incident. Kash also claims that the real reason she was fired was because she filed a complaint with the US Department of Education questioning the legality of the TEA’s contract agreement with SPEDx, a company based in Georgia, to which TEA is paying $4.4 million to conduct an analysis of its special education system.

This week, two advocacy groups  – Disability Rights Texas and the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education – called on the TEA to halt its project with SPEDx, which includes data mining the individual special education plans for students across the state, saying the project violates privacy and doesn’t include for the involvement of parents.

Read more coverage from The Texas Tribune and the Austin-American Statesman.

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