By: Zaffirini  S.B. No. 522
         (In the Senate - Filed January 29, 2019; February 14, 2019,
  read first time and referred to Committee on Education;
  March 27, 2019, reported favorably by the following vote:  Yeas 11,
  Nays 0; March 27, 2019, sent to printer.)
Click here to see the committee vote
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
 
  relating to the development of an individualized education program
  for a public school student with a visual impairment.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 30.002, Education Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (f) and adding Subsection (f-1) to read as
  follows:
         (f)  In the development of the individualized education
  program for a [functionally blind] student with a visual
  impairment, proficiency in [braille] reading and writing is a
  significant indicator of [presumed to be essential for] the 
  student's satisfactory educational progress. The individualized
  education program for a student with a visual impairment must
  include instruction in [Each functionally blind student is entitled
  to] braille and the use of braille unless the student's admission,
  review, and dismissal committee determines and documents that
  braille is not an appropriate literacy medium for the student. The
  committee's determination must be based on an evaluation of the
  student's  appropriate literacy media and literacy skills and the
  student's current and future instructional needs [reading and
  writing instruction that is sufficient to enable the student to
  communicate with the same level of proficiency as other students of
  comparable ability who are at the same grade level]. Braille
  instruction:
               (1)  may be used in combination with other special
  education services appropriate to the student's educational needs;
  and
               (2)  shall be provided by a teacher certified to teach
  students with visual impairments[.   The assessment of each
  functionally blind student for the purpose of developing the
  student's individualized education program must include
  documentation of the student's strengths and weaknesses in braille
  skills].
         (f-1)  Each person assisting in the development of the [a
  functionally blind student's] individualized education program for
  a student with a visual impairment shall receive information
  describing the benefits of braille instruction.  [Each functionally
  blind student's individualized education program must specify the
  appropriate learning medium based on the assessment report and
  ensure that instruction in braille will be provided by a teacher
  certified to teach students with visual impairments.   For purposes
  of this subsection, the agency shall determine the criteria for a
  student to be classified as functionally blind.]
         SECTION 2.  This Act applies beginning with the 2019-2020
  school year.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
 
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