TEA oversees public education in Texas. While not directly providing special education services, TEA has the responsibility of managing them. TEA departments set state education standards, manage state and federal education funding, and work with school districts and charter schools to check that they are meeting federal and state education standards and using their funding properly.
Texas Education Agency
Managing special education is a big area for TEA and includes:
- Approving, distributing, and monitoring all federal grants and state money for special education.
- Giving that funding to local school districts.
- Offering guidance to local school districts on operating special education programs.
- Making sure that local school districts are meeting state and federal standards for special education by reviewing programs and handling parent complaints.
To find out more about the special education process in Texas, visit our Special Education 101 page. To find out more about TEA, read on.
TEA Parent Support Services
To reach a statewide resource center:
- Visit the SPEDTEX website.
- Or call 1-855-SPEDTEX (1-855-773-3839). There are both English and Spanish speakers to help you.
- If you have a hearing impairment, call 512-475-3540 or 7-1-1 for a relay agent.
- The Texas Project First website is designed to help parents of children who are being referred for special education services learn what they need to know to navigate the process.
What to Do If Your Child Needs Special Education
- Contact your local school district to schedule an evaluation for your child to see if special education services are necessary. You can find your local school district on the TEA school locator web page or by looking at the Ask Ted web page.
- When going to register, you will need to bring:
- A birth certificate.
- Proof of residency, such as a lease or utility bills.
- Paperwork on any testing that your child has already had (if your child’s learning difficulties haven’t already been identified).
- If your child is already in special education and you are going into a new school, bring any paperwork that you have describing your child’s diagnosis, Individualized Education Program (IEP), or other accommodations, along with the name of your previous school and a contact person there.
- To get most publicly funded special education services, your child must go to a public or charter school. However, some districts might offer services for children who are homeschooled or in a private school, especially if your child is not old enough for kindergarten. Call your local school to find out what choices you have.
- If your child is age 3 or older, is undiagnosed, and you believe may have a disability, you should ask the district for an evaluation. You must ask for this by writing a detailed letter addressed to the special education director or other administrator, which explains what you’d like to have happen. Even if your child is not attending a public or charter school, the district is required to perform a screening and do an evaluation if the screening shows that it’s needed. If the district tells you it isn’t needed, you can dispute this. Find out more on our Your Child’s Right to A Public Education page. You can learn more about these processes by calling 512-463-9414.
- Many children with disabilities or special health-care needs do not have special education plans, but can still receive accommodations like Section 504, accessible entry to a building, using an elevator instead of stairs, having special lighting, or getting support tools for learning. Your ESC can help you figure out what kind of accommodations are available at your child’s school.