Background Info

Sections of this webpage were funded by a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Under the plan known as the 60x30TX, Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan: 2015-2030 (THECB, May 2018b), the 60x30TX facilitates a goal to increase the number of individuals in Texas who obtain a certificate, associate degree or degree by sixty percent by the year 2030. To accomplish the goal, the Strategic Plan includes targets for resources and expertise of a variety of stakeholders to increase the success of students, thus facilitating the goal to meet the 60% by 2030. The report states, “Preparing students to enter community colleges and universities and supporting them through the completion of certificates and degrees will mean demonstrating that higher education is still the best path toward greater social and economic mobility”.

In 1997, when the special education law was reauthorized, functional behavior assessments were included in the reauthorized version. Prior to that time, similar procedures were used to determine what a student who was non-verbal was communicating by their behaviors. In 1997, it was determined that the advent of school accountability and the influence of behavior practices in education made it necessary to include guidance for educators in the new special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997. The functional behavior assessment (FBA) has been in special education law since that time and through the last reauthorization in 2004 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

In the August 1, 2016, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) “Letter to Colleague”, OSERS addressed the issue of behavior and the potential impact on Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The letter was part of the Department of Education’s recognition of the increasing number of students with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, who are subject to removal from school for ten days or less. According to the OSERS letter, the “letter is part of the Department’s broader work to encourage school environments that are safe, supportive, and conducive to teaching and learning, where educators actively prevent the need for short-term disciplinary removals by effectively supporting and responding to behavior”.The letter was issued to “clarify that schools … must provide appropriate behavioral supports to children with disabilities who require such supports in order to receive FAPE and placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE). (Dear Colleague Letter, 68 IDELR 76; OSERs/OSEP 2016)