Upholding Standards for the Teaching Profession

On a busy day in state House and Senate education committees, we want to highlight one issue in particular raised by companion bills in both chambers. SB 1278 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and HB 2924 by Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) reflect the agenda of private, for-profit educator-preparation programs calling for lower standards of entry […]

Bills to Crack Down on Educators’ Misconduct with Students Need Careful Drafting

SB 7 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) and SB 653 by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) are bills that would strengthen and expand the reach of penalties for inappropriate relationships maintained by educators and other education employees with student in Texas public schools. The bills have been inspired by recent news reports of increased incidence of […]

Certification Board Proposes Higher Standards for Educator Preparation

On August 5 the State Board for Educator Certification took notable action to raise standards for educator preparation. SBEC members approved a rule proposal to create a new, tiered licensure model for teacher candidates employed as a paid teacher of record while completing their educator preparation program’s requirements. The proposal also calls for more support […]

As Teacher Shortage Intensifies, Loan Forgiveness Available in Some Fields

Texas public schools continue to add 80,000 to 85,000 pupils per year, a pace five times faster than enrollment growth nationwide. While teacher shortages are a national phenomenon, the booming student population in Texas makes the problem here even more acute. The challenge of recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of properly qualified teachers also has […]

Hazard Warning: Local “Innovation Plans” Can Nullify Employee and Student Safeguards in State Law

One of the most hazardous pieces of legislation enacted by Texas lawmakers last year bears a harmless-sounding name. We refer to the law authorizing school districts to declare themselves “districts of innovation” and thereby to exempt themselves from many important safeguards of educational quality and employee, student, and parental rights in the Texas Education Code. […]

How the Teacher Shortage Could Turn Into a Crisis

Texas school administrators have begun to sound the alarm over a looming teacher shortage that could leave Texas classrooms more than 30,000 teachers short when school resumes next August. The phenomenon is not unique to Texas, though the fast-growing Texas student population makes the problem more acute here. As American Federation of Teachers President Randi […]

Agency Updates—Curbing Testing Excesses, Debating Superintendent Certification Standards

Texas Education Agency: Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced today a move toward partial compliance with HB 743 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble), a key bill passed last session by the legislature to curb state testing excesses and demand proof that state tests are valid and reliable before they are administered. The commissioner told school […]

Texas Education Agency and Educator Certification Board Undergo Sunset Review

The staff of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended legislative changes in the operations of the Texas Education Agency and State Board for Educator Certification at a commission hearing Wednesday. Texas AFT will testify tomorrow in support of some proposed changes but in opposition to others. Of special concern is the proposed abolition of the […]

SBOE Rejects Certification Board’s GPA Rule; Next Stop, State Legislature?

By a vote of 12 to 3, the elected State Board of Education on Friday vetoed a rule proposed by the appointed State Board for Educator Certification that would have reaffirmed the current requirement of a 2.5 GPA for admission to state-approved educator-preparation programs. Several SBOE members in the majority voiced the hope that the […]

Standards for Entry into Educator Preparation Debated at State Board of Education

In 2013 the state legislature passed a bill calling for a small increase in the grade point average generally required for entry into an educator-preparation program. But last month the gubernatorial appointees on the State Board for Educator Certification balked at raising the required GPA to 2.75 from the current 2.5. After hearing from private […]