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Texas Policy Profile

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Texas

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?

Texas has adopted Teaching Standards, found in Chapter 149 of the Commissioner’s Rule, that address differentiated instruction and knowledge of students, including students with unique qualities and needs. For example:

Standard 1–Instructional Planning and Delivery. Teachers demonstrate their understanding of instructional planning and delivery by providing standards-based, data-driven, differentiated instruction that engages students, makes appropriate use of technology, and makes learning relevant for today’s learners.

This standard requires teachers to “design lessons to meet the needs of diverse learners,” including the “implementation of individual education plans.”

Standard 2–Knowledge of Students and Student Learning. Teachers work to ensure high levels of learning, social-emotional development, and achievement outcomes for all students, taking into consideration each student’s educational and developmental backgrounds and focusing on each student’s needs.

This standard requires teachers to “acquire, analyze, and use background information (familial, cultural, educational, linguistic, and developmental characteristics) to engage students in learning.” Teachers must “understand the unique qualities of students with exceptional needs, including disabilities and giftedness, and know how to effectively address these needs through instructional strategies and resources.”

Further, Texas has created many grade- and content-specific new sets of standards for beginning educators in an entry-level position. Its Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities apply to all teachers from early childhood to grade 12. These standards address the diversity of students’ instructional needs. For example, standard 1 states that teachers are expected to design instruction appropriate for all students that reflects an understanding of relevant content and is based on continuous and appropriate assessment. Beginning teachers are expected to know and understand characteristics and instructional needs of students with varied backgrounds, skills, interests, and learning needs; and the importance of developing instructional goals and objectives that are suitable for students with varied learning needs.

Sources:

Texas Education Agency (TEA), Chapter 149. Commissioner’s Rules Concerning Educator Standards, Subchapter AA. Teacher Standards

TEA, TExESTM Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) EC–12 (160)

School Leadership Standards

Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?

Texas has also adopted Principal Standards, found in Chapter 149 of Commissioner’s Rule, that address successful instructional interventions, differentiated instructional activities and knowledge of students, including the diversity of student needs. For example, Standard 1–Instructional Leadership states that the principal “is responsible for ensuring every student receives high-quality instruction.” It does not specifically mention students with disabilities however.

The Standards Required for the Principal Certificate outline the knowledge and skills that guide the development of principal preparation programs, examinations to obtain the standards Principal Certificate, professional growth plans, and continuing professional education activities. The standards do not specifically require that principals have knowledge and skills to work with students with disabilities. However, they define the principal as “an educational leader who promotes the success of all students.”

Sources:

TEA, Chapter 149. Commissioner’s Rules Concerning Educator Standards, Subchapter BB. Administrator Standards

Texas Administrative Code §241.15, Standards Required for the Principal Certificate


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

Texas Administrative Code §228.30 (b) requires the curriculum for each educator preparation program to rely on scientifically-based research to ensure teacher effectiveness and alignment to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) exam. The curriculum for candidates seeking initial certification must include special student populations. Additionally, Texas Education Code 21.044(b) requires that any minimum academic qualifications for a certificate that require a person to possess a bachelor’s degree must also require that the person receive, as part of the curriculum for that degree, instruction in detection and education of students with dyslexia. Additionally, Texas Education Code 21.044(c-1) requires that any minimum academic qualifications for a certificate that require a person to possess a bachelor’s degree must also require that the person receive, as part of the training required to obtain that certificate, instruction in detection of students with mental or emotional disorders.

Sources:

Texas Administrative Code, Rule §228.30

Texas Education Code, Sec 21.044

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

Texas Administrative Code §228.35 states that traditional educator preparation programs must require, as part of the curriculum for a bachelor’s degree that is a prerequisite for educator certification, that a candidate receive instruction in detection and education of students with dyslexia. This instruction must include information on characteristics of dyslexia; identification of dyslexia; and effective, multisensory strategies for teaching students with dyslexia.

It also requires educator preparation programs to provide evidence of on-going and relevant field-based experiences throughout the program, in a variety of educational settings with diverse student populations, including observation, modeling, and demonstration of effective practices to improve student learning.

Source: Texas Administrative Code, §228.35

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

Texas collects some program-specific, objective data that reflect teacher preparation program performance, including the results of certification examinations, performance of beginning teachers, and compliance with requirements regarding the frequency, duration, and quality of guidance and ongoing support to beginning teachers during their first year in the classroom.. Texas reports these data on the state’s website at the program level to provide the public with indicators of how well programs are doing.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Texas

Email communication from TEA, October 6, 2014

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Require course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners

Texas Administrative Code §228.35(7.b) requires administrator preparation programs to provide coursework and/or training to ensure that the educator is effective in the professional assignment. The program must provide a candidate with a minimum of 200 clock-hours of coursework and/or training that is directly aligned to the Standards Required for the Principal Certificate. Our state policy analysis did not identify information about required course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities.

Source: Texas Administrative Code §228.35 and §241.15

Principal Preparation – Accountability

Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?

Our state policy analysis did not identify a state accountability system for school administrator preparation.


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?

Texas does not offer a K-12 certification. The state issues a K-12 special education certification, but it includes separate requirements for teaching in elementary and secondary classrooms. Texas also holds its elementary special education teachers seeking probationary certificates to the same preparation and subject-matter testing requirements as general elementary teachers. Secondary special education (7-12) teachers seeking probationary certificates must either pass a certification test appropriate to the subject-matter assignment or complete 24 semester hours of coursework, with 12 semester hours of upper division coursework in the subject area. An elementary subject-matter test is required for an elementary special education probationary certificate.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Texas

Email communication from TEA, October 6, 2014

Teacher Certification – Examination

Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?

Some educator preparation programs may require candidates to take the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) exam (basic skills exam in Reading, Writing and Mathematics) for admission to their teacher education program. State tests are required for each area of certification as well as a Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities examination.

Source: TEA, Educator Testing

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?

Our state policy analysis did not identify required professional development in working with special populations to move from an initial to a professional license. Teachers are required to complete 150 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for the purpose of renewing a standard teaching certificate. However, it is the responsibility of the educator and the school district to determine which workshops or training sessions meet the requirements for standard certificate renewal.

Sources:

TEA, Requirements for Renewing My Standard Certificate

Continuing Professional Education: Tracking Worksheet-Teachers

Principal Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?

The state of Texas requires school leaders to obtain a master’s degree, have prior teaching experience, complete a state-approved preparation program, and pass a test. First-time principals and superintendents must both participate in a one-year induction period/mentorship.

Principals: Candidates must successfully complete the assessments required, complete an approved principal preparation program, hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and have two years of creditable teaching experience as a classroom teacher.

Superintendents: Candidates must complete an assessment based on established standards, an SBEC-approved superintendent preparation program and be recommended for certification by that program. Candidates must hold, at a minimum, a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and a principal certificate or the equivalent.

Sources:

19 TAC §241.20 through §241.25

19 TAC §242.20 through §242.25;

ECS, Administrator License Requirements, Portability, Waivers and Alternative Certification

George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark


Teacher and Principal Induction

Teacher Induction

Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?

The state does not require all new teachers to receive induction support. State policy provides that “each school district may assign a mentor teacher to each classroom teacher who has less than two years of teaching experience in the subject or grade level to which the teacher is assigned.” [Texas Education Code § 21.458] It requires all participants in educator preparation programs to be provided a “campus mentor” during their internship year. [Texas Administrative Code Rule § 228.35]

The state formerly operated the Beginning Teacher Induction and Mentoring Program to which a school district could apply for funding to establish a mentoring program for first- and second-year teachers. While BTIM is not currently funded, the state has established the competitive Educator Excellence Innovation Program that awards grants to school districts to improve educator effectiveness. Induction and mentoring is a “required practice” that must be part of a district’s grant application.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

TEA, 2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program

Principal Induction

Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?

The state requires “a principal or assistant principal employed for the first-time as a campus administrator (including the first time in the state)” to participate in “an induction period of at least one year.” The induction period should be a structured, systemic process for assisting the new principal or assistant principal in further developing skills in guiding the everyday operation of a school, adjusting to the particular culture of a school district, and developing a personal awareness of self in the campus administrator role. Mentoring support must be an integral component of the induction period.

Source: 19 TAC §241.21


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

Professional Learning Standards can be found in Chapter 232 of the Texas Administrative Code. Teachers who received their Standard Classroom Teacher Certificate on or after September 1, 1999 must complete 150 clock-hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every five years. At least 80% of the CPE activities should be directly related to the certificate(s) being renewed and focus on the standards required for the initial issuance of the certificate(s). Types of acceptable CPE activities are described in Texas Administrative Code §232.15.

Sources:

TAC §232.11, §232.13, and §232.15

TEA, Professional Learning Standards

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

The Standards Required for the Principal Certificate outline the knowledge and skills that shall serve as the foundation for professional growth plans and continuing professional education activities. Principals who received their Standard Principal Certificate on or after September 1, 1999 must complete 200 clock-hours of CPE every five years. At least 80% of the CPE activities should be directly related to the certificate(s) being renewed and focus on the standards required for the initial issuance of the certificate(s).

Source: TAC §241.15, Standards Required for the Principal Certificate