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My child attends a school in Aldine ISD. He has struggled in school since day one. This year my child’s teacher asked that he receive testing for special education (also called SPED). I agreed to the testing and was called to come into a meeting a month later and told that my child did not qualify for SPED.

I think they thought I should have been relieved, but I wasn’t. Some of the people in the room couldn’t even look me in the eye. There was no recommendation on what I should do next. I remember feeling like I trusted the teacher, but I didn’t trust the district.

After paying for out of pocket for testing, I learned that my child does indeed have a disability that prevents him from learning at a normal rate and that he is behind several grade levels. Am I pissed? Yes I am. I have paid taxes to Aldine for more than 20 years, yet they told me nothing is wrong with my child.

Then I started doing some research. I contacted an attorney and he gave me the name of a child advocate. The advocate referred me to a website – www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/ – and told me to call her back if I wanted to pursue the matter.

I found numerous articles about how Texas schools deny students, especially minority students, special education services. There was one article by Brian Rosenthal (dated November 18, 2016) that really upset me. It described how Texas schools have failed our kids for many years. It also said that only after facing intense scrutiny by the federal government, the Texas Education Agency recently announced to schools that they must provide services to all eligible students.

My first thought was this: What about all of the students Texas has already failed?  My next thought was this: What about parents who can’t pay for outside testing or an advocate? Yep, they are screwed and their kids are as well. It’s just that simple.

My wife and I decided that many others may have had similar experiences, but no one wants to talk about it. So if you have had a similar experience, do your research. Hire an advocate. You don’t need to know the rules. They will help you fight for your child to receive a good education or any special services he/she may need. We’ve decided to fight for our son because Aldine doesn’t seem to understand that’s what our tax dollars are supposed to be used for.

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