Special Education & Schools

read time 6 minutes

Children's icon, a cluster of simplified figures, one smaller than the other two.

Our Position

Texas' public education system seems to face potential radical changes every session. As the state strives to best serve all students, the Texas Legislature must not leave students with disabilities behind by neglecting to support special education programs.

CTD fought hard against public school vouchers, which would take money away from public schools and present a host of potential problems for students with disabilities. CTD joined an army of opponents to vouchers, who managed to fend off voucher legislature during the regular session. We had continued to oppose a voucher program through an unprecedented four special sessions.

CTD opposed HB 3164 (Tepper), which did pass, and will prohibit Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices on public college campuses.

CTD opposed HB 1804 (Leo-Wilson), which did not pass, and would have restricted the content of educational materials.

The Latest

January 11, 2014: TX school districts have to find millions of dollars to fund special education after federal ruling; our Jolene Sanders weighs in.

November 22, 2023: State House host Frank Santos and Dennis Borel talk vouchers: The Challenges and Triumphs in Accessible Healthcare with Dennis Borel Part 2 (video)

November 15, 2023: View a press conference opposing school vouchers, hosted by a coalition of groups, including CTD.

October 13, 2023: Our Jolene Sanders joined Raise Your Hand Texas' podcast on Vouchers and School Finance in the special session.



Special Education

Texas has a long history of denying special education services to kids with disabilities or shortchanging eligible students. Over the years, CTD and other advocates have led efforts to remove the illegal 8.5% enrollment cap, to expose the misuse of funding by the Texas Education Agency that compromised confidential student information, to protect early intervention programs, and to push back on attempts to exploit students with disabilities to open the door to vouchers. As schools continue to make gains in these areas, we must also focus our attention on transitioning to a service intensity funding formula to support students to learn in their least restrictive environments, and prioritize policies that protect the very basic right of all students to feel safe from physical, emotional, and mental harm at school.

CTD supports policies that provide school districts with guidance and the necessary resources to address the current barriers to access and inequities across the state.

Full Day Pre-K

CTD supports expanding access to full day Pre-K to include children eligible for special education or 504 supports.


CTD opposes the adoption of any voucher program or voucher-in-disguise initiative, and calls on Legislators to ensure that children with disabilities are adequately served in public and charter schools. CTD opposes any attempts to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a vehicle to open the door to vouchers. Rather, the legislature must fix the systemic flaws in the special education system and sustain our public schools.

Federal law protects these students, but these protections do not extend to private school settings:

In addition, under an ESA system, families could face significant barriers to access such as:

Censorship in the Classroom

While not specific to special education, CTD opposes any legislation that would prohibit discussions or instruction on certain concepts related to race, gender, diversity, and discrimination in social studies, history, government, and civics courses in public schools. As members of and advocates for the disability community, we are wary of efforts by lawmakers to limit discussions of discrimination of any group in our nation's past and present.

Further Reading

Webinar: The Truth About Special Education Vouchers, recorded December 9, 2022, with our Jolene Sanders-Foster. Resources from the webinar: