Education in Texas
In Texas, children who are deaf and hard of hearing have access to education, as stipulated in the state’s education laws. The Texas school system consists of several key players, all striving to provide quality education for children, with both public and non-public options available.
At the state level, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) oversees all primary and secondary public education. The agency implements Texas educational statutes and regulations into applicable guidance, support and processes. Additionally, TEA establishes Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards.
TEA considers students who are deaf or hard of hearing, deafblind, blind or have visual impairments as students with sensory impairments. Depending on the student’s educational needs, students may receive services from multiple schools or programs.
- Students who are deaf or hard of hearing are served by either, or both, local education agencies and Texas School for the Deaf.
- Students who are deafblind are served by either, or both, Texas School for the Deaf and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
- Students who are blind or have visual impairments are served by either, or both, local education agencies and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
At the local level, local education agencies (LEA) oversee public schools and programs in zoned areas. LEAs are responsible for providing resources and programs to the local student community, as well as reporting data to TEA. LEAs are often the first point of entry for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Families can contact their local school to begin exploring educational placement options.
Public Schools and Programs
The following are some of the public schools and programs available to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs: These programs serve children from birth to 5 years of age. Services range from early childhood intervention, preschool, and prekindergarten. TEA provides family resources to help families navigate ECE options.
- Public Schools: Students and families may choose to attend their local public school. Public schools are mandated to provide services to ensure students have access to education, language acquisition, and communication. They may provide:
- Regular education classes with accommodations
- Self-contained classrooms
- Resource rooms
- Itinerant Services
- Regional Day School Programs for the Deaf (RDSPD): RDSPDs are instructional services provided within identified public schools. RDSPDs may utilize different visual or auditory tools to support language acquisition in English, American Sign Language (ASL), or both. RDSPDs across the state vary in their language of instruction and choice of communication tools.
- Texas School for the Deaf (TSD): Located in Austin, TSD is an American Sign Language -English bilingual school serving children statewide from birth to 22 years old. Their language of instruction is ASL and English but services are available for spoken language acquisition. The school offers both residential and day programming.
Non-Public Schools and Programs
Non-public schools include private schools, charter schools or homeschooling programs. TEA recognizes these schools and programs as alternative education. Families wanting to explore this option would need to contact those schools and programs directly.
Some well-known non-public schools are:
- Sunshine Cottage: A Listening and Spoken Language based school for children from birth through fifth grade.
- Jean Massieu Academy: This open-enrollment charter school provides deaf education services and American Sign Language resources for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
- Melinda Webb School: A Listening and Spoken Language program for children from birth to eight years old.
- Homeschooling: Homeschool resources and programs in Texas are available at the local community level.