SBEC Recap: Updates on Educator Preparation, Pedagogy Standards 

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) convened in Austin last Friday for its regularly scheduled meeting. 
Early in the agenda was a Texas Education Agency (TEA) recap of decisions made at the State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting in April. TEA staff shared that both items of concern for Texas AFT — Chapter 228 related to educator preparation and Chapter 230 related to educator testing — were approved by the SBOE, which took no action on these items.  

Staff shared that though Chapter 228 was approved, the SBOE did provide feedback on these rules, which Chair Streepy committed to redressing with the SBEC beginning in July 2024. There will be time to consider and approve adjustments to how a clinical candidate may earn their clock hours toward certification before programs will be held accountable for their implementation.  

Of interest for this meeting was a discussion item on Chapter 235, related to the teacher pedagogy standards. These act as the basis for what educator preparation programs (EPPs) are required to teach and later how teachers will be evaluated when they enter the profession. Absent from the proposed rules was the foundation skill of how to design and plan a lesson. Instead, language was inserted on evaluating and selecting high-quality instructional materials (HQIM). This is alarming because though HB 1605 does require EPPs to train candidates on the availability and use of HQIM, it did not require the removal of the essential training needed for teachers to be able to design and plan a lesson. This would be a radical shift in teacher training. 

In removing lesson design, these rules would directly funnel EEPs, candidates, and districts into using HB 1605’s HQIM, though these materials are strictly voluntary. More importantly, the approved list of HQIM will be built slowly over years, and materials may never be available for certain courses and subjects. The Texas Coalition for Educator Preparation (TCEP), of which Texas AFT is a member, testified to this point, as did other advocates. The board seemed to agree and directed staff to bring the rules back to the board in July with lesson design reincorporated into the standards. 

Additionally, the SBEC discussed two options for how to move forward with the creation of the Texas-specific performance assessment (TxTPA) to live alongside edTPA. The first option was to allow TEA to set its creation as an addendum to the contract still in procurement for the next four years of educator testing. This option may be more expeditious but is not preferable as it removes transparency from the field. The second option would be to reissue the request for proposal (RFP) with some expanded eligibility and allow for applicants to compound expertise in executing the development of a TxTPA. It should be noted that no vote was taken and no explicit direction was given to staff as to how to proceed with the TxTPA. Presumably, staff will let the board know what’s been decided in July.  

We maintain that edTPA, nor any other performance assessment, should serve as the certification exam. Rather, performance assessment should be integrated into the curriculum and clinical or intern experience of a teacher candidate. 

Of additional note to our members, the SBEC rejected a proposed settlement agreement for A+ Texas Teachers/Texas Teachers of Tomorrow. Details were not disclosed during the SBEC meeting but the board did empower legal council to continue to negotiate with the embattled alternative certification program, still the largest in the state. 

The SBEC will meet again in July in Austin for a work session and meeting.