HB 2256 Equips Schools to Support English Learners with Disabilities and Delays

HB 2256 by Rep. Guerra/SB 1101 by Sen. Creighton will provide English Learners eligible for Special Education the opportunity for a quality education.


Texas has the highest percentage of English Learners (ELs) in the nation, but Texas schools lack the personnel to address EL student disabilities and delays in effective ways. Unfortunately, the lack of certified Bilingual Special Education teachers creates several problems: 

  • Students are misdiagnosed — in both directions.
  • ELs with disabilities and delays are not identified for Special Education when untrained school personnel incorrectly assume that their challenges are based solely on language.
  • ELs who do not have disabilities and delays are incorrectly identified for Special Education when untrained teachers and administrators mistake a language barrier for other challenges.
  • There are delays — often for years — in identifying ELs who need Special Education, meaning ELs are missing effective support during the years where they would benefit the most.
  • When ELs are correctly identified for Special Education, their families are often forced to choose between either A) a program and teacher equipped to address students’ language needs but not student disabilities or delays, or B) a program and teacher equipped to address disabilities and delays but not students’ language needs.

HB 2256 would create a teacher certification in Bilingual Special Education, which will build a pipeline of school leaders who are equipped to effectively serve the educational needs of English Learner children with disabilities and developmental delays in pre-k through 12th grade. Diagnoses will be more accurate. They will happen soon enough to start services when they are most effective. And they will be followed by services that can meet the student’s language needs and address the student’s disabilities and delays.

You can read our full testimony to the Texas House Public Education Committee below: