New Graduation Options for Students with Disabilities

New Graduation Options for Students with Disabilities

November 12, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


– Hello, I’m Steven Aleman
with Disability Rights Texas. Disability Rights Texas is
a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting
and advancing the rights of people with disabilities
in our great state. We do advocacy work in a number of areas, whether it’s employment,
housing, transportation, and also in the area of public education. I’m joining you today to talk about the start of the 2019-2020 school year and what are some of the new laws in Texas affecting students with disabilities as they begin their school year. We already covered several topics through Facebook Live today, and we’re coming to you
with a final segment to talk about high
school graduation options for students with disabilities. In Texas, all high school
students must sign up for what we call an endorsement. You could think of this as
perhaps like a major in college, where students will be
earning extra course credits in a focused track of classes. In Texas, we have five endorsements. They’re called the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics endorsement, the business and industry endorsement, the public service endorsement, the arts and humanities endorsement, and finally the multidisciplinary
studies endorsement. Now as I mentioned, every Texas
public high school student must sign up for an endorsement. But in the past, there’s
been a complication for students with disabilities. If a student with a disability, on account of their disability, must have what we have what
we call modified curriculum or some changes in course
study in that class then that would have
automatically precluded or blocked the student from
earning that endorsement. Modified curriculum,
what’s considered a change in the course study of the endorsement, and would not allow a
student with a disability to earn that endorsement. Well, in the 2019 legislative session, which met in Austin earlier this year, lawmakers passed House Bill 165, and Governor Abbott signed it into law. And what that means now is that students who have a disability are not faced with a blanket prohibition from earning an endorsement because of their need for
a modified curriculum. So let’s walk through what the bill does and how these options
might become available. So, first of all, admitted
students’ admission, review, or dismissal
for committee must meet. They will review the need
for a modified curriculum and evaluate how
significantly does that change the course of study. Let’s say an advanced math class. If they determine that the student is still thinking access
to advanced math concepts and is learning just
like any other student, then they will be eligible
to earn that credit and that credit will apply
towards their endorsement. Further, the Star committee will weigh whether or not an End of
Course or EOC is required. As you may know, in Texas, we have our state assessment system that we call Star Testing. And for high school seniors, they also have to complete or when they’re finishing
a certain course work, what we call the End of Course
Assessment, the Star EOC. Likewise, the admission
review and submissal for our committee for a
student with a disability will decide if the student is
required to take the EOC exam in order to earn the credit
for the endorsement track. In short, we’re going to individualize the determination about
high school endorsements for students with disabilities and ensure that every
student with a disability has fair access to this option of earning extra course
credits in the endorsement. Endorsement serves as
an important foundation for students who want to go on to college, technical education, or
some other career path where having these extra
course credits in high school will give them a jump start on their life in a new job era. So now, we hopefully
will have equal access to this opportunity for
students with disabilities in Texas public schools. So, for parents, watch
during the art committee about course selection and endorsement eligibility and have that discussion
with your committee about individualized assessments we have automatized for eighteen months. If that is considered for
your student in those courses. Now today, we’ve covered several bills, connected this news with
disabilities and special education, and how new state laws will affect them in the beginning of 2019-2020 school year. I wanna point out that there’s
several different bills that we were not able to get to today, but if you come to our website, www.drtx.org, you can learn about them. We’ll have resources posted
about new state laws. In general, if you have
any basic questions about special education, we have plenty of
resources on our website, links to help you, sources that can guide
you through the process, and if by chance you find that you need the assistance of Disability Rights Texas to advocate specifically for your student, you have the option of applying
for our services online and requesting the assignment
of an application referred attorney to your case. Those will be screened
on an individual basis and you’ll hear back from us about what is it happened
past your ability to help you on one-on-one situations. We hope everyone has a
great 2019-2020 school year, thanks for joining us, and best of luck to you all.