Gunter ISD Works To Improve Special Education

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12-11-06 A Texas school district is working to raise its rankings for special needs education. Educators and parents in Gunter met Monday night to talk about possible improvements to Gunter's special education curriculum.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) rates school districts on performance and academic achievement. Recently, the TEA rated Gunter's special education program low in areas related to ethnic demographics.

The TEA criticized Gunter ISD for having a high percentage of Hispanic students in the program, as well as for having a lot of students in the program with limited English proficiency.

In the past, school districts across the state have been criticized by the TEA for placing Hispanic students in special eduation, when many of them just did not understand English.

Gunter Superintendent Rick Cohagan says 1/5 of Gunter ISD students are Hispanic. He says the students in Gunter's special needs program truly need to be there and they benefit from the program.

The TEA required Gunter to hold Monday night's forum in order to determine the effectiveness of the special education program, and to hear the opinions of teachers and parents.

One parent says the special education program has made a positive impact on his daughters.
"My 2 daughters are on A-B honor roll. They have more confidence and you can see the difference."

Gunter school officials tell KXII they will send the results of the forum to the TEA so both parties can determine if any changes need to be made.