The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met in Austin on Dec. 9, and the board’s final agenda of the year had a few noteworthy items.
The board received an update from staff on the agreed order for A+ Texas Teachers’ (also known as Texas Teachers of Tomorrow). After years of teacher candidate complaints and compliance shortfalls, the state’s largest alternative certification provider failed its most recent audit by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Texas Teachers of Tomorrow will present arguments against TEA’s claims before a judge in the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The outcome of the hearing could lead to the company’s accreditation being revoked or SOAH could grant the company another opportunity to correct the issues. The primary discussion in the boardroom was about how to support teacher candidates who may still be in the certification pipeline if A+ ceases operations.
The board also continued its ongoing discussion on the edTPA, the Pearson-created teacher performance assessment (TPA). The wide-ranging and robust conversation included possible alternative pathways to certification, like a teacher residency model. The board also discussed creating a Texas-specific performance assessment and “carve outs” for certain content areas like fine arts or career and technical education. Despite many opportunities, TEA has failed to meaningfully engage with stakeholders on what it proposes to be the new statewide certification exam. Texas AFT does not support edTPA, nor any TPA as a certification exam. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure the rigor of educator preparation programs and an equitable certification process.