HISD’s Special Ed Director Resigns Amid Scrutiny

Mar 27, 2017 by

During her tenure, the number of children evaluated for special ed in HISD dropped dramatically.

Laura Isensee –

Houston’s director of special education resigned this week, after months of pressure and scrutiny from parents and advocates for special needs children.

For almost seven years, HISD’s Assistant Superintendent Sowmya Kumar led special education in the state’s largest school district.

During her tenure, the number of children evaluated for special ed in HISD dropped dramatically. Houston’s overall rate fell to the lowest of almost any large city in the country and below the state benchmark of 8.5 percent. The national average is 13 percent. The state benchmark was revealed in a Houston Chronicle investigation.

Kumar defended those numbers in a letter to the U.S Department of Education, which is investigating how Texas schools serve children with disabilities. Kumar said that they resulted from “an intentional decision to more thoughtfully address the needs of students who in the past would have been labeled under special education.”

In the face of scrutiny and outrage, however, Kumar resigned from her post this week.

HISD’s Superintendent Richard Carranza declined to comment. He has previously said that he’s examined the district’s internal procedures for special ed and found no problems.

The interim director will be Joan Anderson. She’s been a senior manager in HISD and also worked with special ed programs in Boston and Virginia.

Source: HISD’s Special Ed Director Resigns Amid Scrutiny – Houston Public Media

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