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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.

Angel Vazquez is 9 years old, has hearing loss in both ears, has trouble speaking and struggles to concentrate in class. He's a year behind in school, just learned how to read and is still learning English. For nearly two years, his mom, Angeles Garcia, tried to get him evaluated for special education at his elementary school in Houston.

Garcia sent the school three letters, pleading for an assessment. She even included medical documents describing some of his disabilities, but she says the school ignored her.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

With increased federal attention on the low percentage of Texas students receiving special education services, the state is poised to ensure the number of students receiving such services will increase over the next year. And disability rights advocates are hoping to go even further, aiming to improve the overall quality of those services.

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The 2017 Legislative session kicks off next week. Among the many topics sure to spark debate is education. KERA looks ahead to several of the education issues Texas lawmakers will tackle when they meet.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Federal officials have fanned out across the state after allegations that Texas capped special education enrollment at 8.5 percent to save money. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Federal and state education officials got an earful from angry parents Monday night at a meeting in Richardson. Most say their school districts have denied special education services to their kids who deserved them.

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U.S. Department of Education officials want to hear from Texas families and students on getting access to special education services. The two-hour sessions are scheduled to begin Dec. 12.

Speaker Joe Straus Calls For Immediate Special Education Overhaul

Oct 27, 2016
Alana Rocha / The Texas Tribune

House Speaker Joe Straus urged the Texas Education Agency Wednesday to immediately overhaul its system for identifying students in need of special education services.

When Rosley Espinoza's daughter was very young, in preschool, she started acting differently. She seemed distracted and would get in trouble at school.

"Lack of interest, teachers' notes coming home with behavior notes," Espinoza says, speaking in Spanish.

She says she asked school officials to evaluate her daughter, Citlali, for special education, but they didn't.

Bill Zeeble / KERA public radio

Texas has the lowest special education enrollment numbers in the nation. Parents of some special needs students say they’ve spent years fighting with Texas schools to get services for their kids — services schools are required to provide under federal law. 

Feds Tell Texas To Report On Impact Of Special Education Benchmark

Oct 4, 2016
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The federal government has ordered Texas officials to eliminate an 8.5 percent benchmark on special education enrollment unless they can show it didn't keep children with disabilities from receiving appropriate educational services.

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Teachers and parents say they don't know why Texas' public schools have the lowest percentage of special education students of any state in the country.