According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, one in five students has a learning disability. Knowing this, it’s essential that Texas does its best to fulfill these students’ needs by providing them with the appropriate accommodations to help them succeed. Although many schools do an adequate job of supporting students with accommodations, that does not mean that there is no room for improvement. It is the responsibility of the State of Texas to ensure that there is funding and resources to help students succeed in their academic careers.
School districts in Texas don’t focus enough energy on accommodating students with disabilities, but before they’re able to do so, the State of Texas must allot adequate funding. A Houston Chronicle investigation found that the Texas Education Agency had saved billions of dollars but denied vital support to children with special learning needs. Texas officials often dismiss the importance of accommodating students with learning disabilities, and that must be addressed. Texas is more concerned with saving money than providing kids with the resources they need to have a chance at an education that works for them. The Houston Chronicle’s Brian M. Rosenthal wrote that, in Texas, “unelected state officials have quietly devised a system that has kept thousands of disabled kids…out of special education.”
Accommodations can also be hard to provide. Students must meet certain criteria and be diagnosed in a specific way to be considered to receive an accommodation. Many students don’t have access to the resources to be diagnosed or seek treatment, meaning that their learning needs go unnoticed and ignored. And even once these criteria are met and an accommodation is received, many teachers aren’t understanding about certain needs that aren’t explicitly outlined in the accommodation itself.
According to the Houston Chronicle, if Texas provided the same amount of support for disabled students as the rest of the U.S. does on average, 250,000 more kids would be getting critical services such as therapy, counseling and one-on-one tutoring. This only goes to further show that school districts in Texas should step up their support for disabled kids.
Students shouldn’t have to struggle with learning or have to fight for accommodations and 504s that should already be theirs. Accommodations and 504s are a right, and it is the job of the State of Texas to step up and create pathways to provide their students with the help that they need so that all students can have a chance at learning in a beneficial environment.