The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas listed 8.8 percent of students as having special needs last year. That's down from 12 percent in 2000. Houston reported 7.9 percent, and Dallas reported 7.7 percent.
The national figure has remained around 13 percent.
Jack Fletcher, a University of Houston professor on the executive committee of the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, calls the trend encouraging and says state and federal reading programs are working.
But Houston special needs advocate Louis Geigerman accuses schools of doing "an atrocious job" teaching children to read. Some question whether students who might need help aren't getting it.