School leaders say much of the hysteria is fueled by hoax threats spread on social media, and few have reported actual clown sightings.
The newspaper found that the state set that target about 10 years ago and strictly audited districts that went above that percentage. The state said the percentage was meant to be seen as a guideline. Nationwide, special education identification rates are about 13 percent.
Within 30 days, Texas must submit a letter to the Education Department with steps it will take to address the report, such as ensuring that districts identify, locate, and evaluate all children suspected of having a disability.
A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2016 edition of Education Week as Education Dept. Orders Texas To Remove Spec. Ed. Cap