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Thousands More Texas Students Are Receiving Special Education Services After Cap Lifted


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Special ed enrollment in Texas is up; there are new maps of Trump’s border wall; Wendy Davis’ filibuster is getting made into a movie; and more.

Enrollment in special education programs is surging in Texas after a policy that directed school districts to limit such services was removed. 

More than 477,000 students received special education services in the 2016-17 school year, the Houston Chronicle reports. That’s an increase of about 14,000 students from the previous school year.

Almost 9 percent of Texas students use special education resources, according to data from Texas’ Public Education Information Management System. For reference, about 13 percent of students received special education services nationwide in 2016, according to The Associated Press.

The Texas Education Agency enacted a policy in 2004 to limit special education services to no more than 8.5 percent of students. The agency removed that policy last year after the Chronicle’s investigation found that thousands of students with disabilities didn't have access to services.

Texas passed legislation in the spring that prohibits the creation of a target number of students who can enroll in special education. 

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  • Border wall: Documents show the Trump administration plans to construct a portion of the border wall in the Rio Grande Valley, cutting through three wildlife areas. [Texas Observer]

  • Sutherland Springs: A week after 26 people — about half of the congregation — were killed, hundreds of people attended First Baptist Church Sunday to worship. [NPR]  

  • Christmas cancelation: The Dallas Holiday Parade might not happen next month if organizers can’t convince someone to foot the $473,000 bill by the end of today. [GuideLive]

  • “Let Her Speak”: Sandra Bullock is set to play Democrat Wendy Davis, a former Texas state senator, in a film about her 11-hour filibuster on anti-abortion legislation. [Variety]

The High Five is KERA’s daily roundup of stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.