Teaching Standards and Leadership 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.
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.”
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 educator effectiveness. 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.
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 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 through the Accountability System for Educator Preparation, which reflects 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.
Texas Education Code Section 21.0452,
19 TAC Chapter 229
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?
There is no specific accountability system for school administrator preparation and currently no plans to create one.
Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure
Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?
Texas offers an Early Childhood–Grade 12 certification by exam in special education.
TAC Chapter 235, TEA, Educator Testing
Texas adopted new special education standards in 2020 for Early Childhood–Grade 6, Grades 6–12, and Deaf Blind to lay the foundation for strengthening the preparation of new special education teachers. Texas is also collaborating with the CEEDAR Center and with stakeholders to determine related policy changes.
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?
A Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) can be used for admission to an alternative certification or post-baccalaureate educator preparation program (EPP). A PACT is required if the applicant has a grade-point average below a 2.5 or if the applicant has not completed at least 112 semester credit hours in the subject area of the certificate the applicant is seeking (15 hours if seeking certification in math or science above 7th grade).
The Texas Education Agency is developing new content pedagogy tests that will be offered beginning in late 2024 for EC–6 and 6–12 certifications in special education.
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.
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.
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
Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?
TAC 228.25(f). Mentors, cooperating teachers, and site supervisors. In order to support a new educator and to increase educator retention, an EPP shall collaborate with the campus or district administrator to assign each candidate a mentor during the candidate’s internship, assign a cooperating teacher during the candidate’s clinical teaching experience, or assign a site supervisor during the candidate’s practicum. If an individual who meets the certification category and/or experience criteria for a cooperating teacher, mentor, or site supervisor is not available, the EPP and campus or district administrator shall assign an individual who most closely meets the criteria and document the reason for selecting an individual that does not meet the criteria. The EPP is responsible for providing mentor, cooperating teacher, and/or site supervisor training that relies on scientifically-based research, but the program may allow the training to be provided by a school, district, or regional education service center if properly documented.
New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction
TEA, 2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program
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.
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.
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