TEA announced March 6 that the U.S. Department of Education has advised the agency that Texas' waiver request to address the issue of multiple assessments for students taking Algebra I at the middle school level will not be granted. However, Commissioner of Education Michael Williams discourages school districts and charters from double-testing middle school students taking Algebra I. Get the details.
Are you a high school teacher or counselor with students who have great potential but who aren’t at the top of their class, don’t have other scholarship opportunities, and who face hardships or challenges that may make higher education or career/vocational training difficult or even impossible without financial assistance? Thanks to the generosity of the late Charles and Phyllis Gottlieb, the TCTA Scholarship Program will award nearly $130,000 to these students in fall 2014. Nominations are now open. Details here.
TCTA won five awards in the 2013 Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Star Awards program, including a Best of Category, two Gold and two Silver Star Awards. The awards were announced at TSPRA's annual Star Awards Celebration held Feb. 19 in Austin. Which TCTA communications efforts were recognized? Find out.
Sixth-grade teachers with subject-specific certificates will no longer have to also obtain a generalist certificate. TEA recently announced that it had requested and received from the U.S. Dept. of Education permission to change sixth grade from an elementary to a secondary grade-level designation for purposes of determining NCLB highly qualified teacher status, effective immediately. Learn more.
TEA posted a PowerPoint presentation containing the latest details of the new Foundation High School Program graduation requirements and endorsements on its website Feb. 12 following the State Board of Education's final approval of the rules. Also available is a side-by-side comparison of the Foundation High School Program with the current minimum, recommended, and distinguished graduation plans. Learn more.
Teachers pursuing the new EC-6 and 4-8 Generalist certificates won't have to retake the entire five-hour exam if they fail one section, thanks to TCTA intervention. The proposal was dropped after TCTA warned SBEC that it could be a huge disincentive to Generalist certificate seekers and out of sync with other professional licensing exams, such as those for CPAs and real estate agents. Learn more.
In early 2014, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed four TCTA members to serve on statewide advisory committees. Grace Mueller and Teresa Koehler will serve on a new statewide advisory committee focused on making recommendations for improvement in the state school district mentoring program. Suzanne Garcia McCall and Twila Read will serve on the Academic Achievement Distinction Designation Committee for the Texas Education Agency. Learn more.
At a Feb. 12 TRS Board of Trustees town hall meeting on health insurance issues, TCTA testified that Texas school employees bear a much larger financial burden than other US employees with employer-provided health insurance. The Board also voted to switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Aetna as administrator of Active-Care as of 2014-15. Learn more.
TEA announced Feb. 11 that school districts and charters seeking waivers for bad weather days due to snow, sleet and icy conditions this winter should submit their requests in March. TEA says that timeframe should allow districts and charter schools to assess the full impact winter weather will have had on their 2013-14 school year calendars. Learn more.
Have questions about TRS active member or retiree health insurance? TRS will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12, 1-3 p.m. Watch it live online and email in your general questions during the meeting. Learn more.