The Department of Education says the Texas Education Agency has failed to comply fully with the No Child Left Behind Act’s provisions on school choice for students in unsafe schools.
The state agency provided inadequate guidance to districts on the mandate for crime victims’ transfers out of their schools, according to a June 15 report from the inspector general’s office in the federal Education Department. The state also did not establish procedures to report violent criminal offenses committed by unknown perpetrators, the report says.
The NCLB law requires states to identify schools deemed “persistently dangerous,” based on a state definition, and to allow students in such schools to transfer to safer ones. The law also says students who are victims of violent crime must be allowed to transfer.
Several Texas districts included in the audit also fell short of federal mandates, the report says. They did not report all violent incidents, for example, and they incorrectly reported some.
The Texas agency disputed key findings in the federal report. For instance, it said in a detailed reply, the state requires by law that districts report violent and other criminal incidents committed by unknown perpetrators, and has provided guidance on procedures for doing so.
The inspector general recommended, among other things, that the federal department work with Texas to revise its guidelines on districts’ victim-transfer policies.