Latest News

Dohn Larson, TCTA's director of legal services, reviews the laws regarding resignations and debunks several myths in our six-part video series. TCTA continues to urge the commissioner to issue guidance related to the circumstances under which an educator has good cause to abandon their contract so that teachers will be allowed to resign from their contracts if appropriate to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

TCTA staff and leadership are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on Texas schools. We've compiled answers to many of the questions our members are asking about COVID-19. The following FAQs also are available to non-members to help all educators navigate this unprecedented time. The FAQs are updated as new guidance emerges from federal, state and local officials.

Click here for our resources about teaching online. Click here for our summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides paid leave for employees. Click here for information about the CARES Act, which adds funds for education.

We encourage TCTA members with specific questions to call our Legal Department at 888-879-8282 for assistance. Members with general inquiries can submit them through the Ask-a-Lawyer portal.

TEA announced that, given the increase in virtual classrooms and requests from districts statewide, TEA has developed an aligned T-TESS rubric which isolates relevant, high-leverage practices in virtual instruction settings.

The TRS Board of Trustees is meeting virtually this week. While only a few action items were considered – primarily a member-friendly revision to how certain divorce orders are calculated – the Board discussed several issues. These included further conversations about the agency’s office buildings and the lease arrangements in downtown Austin, the current value and status of the fund, and concerns about customer service in the benefits counseling division.

Public schools will not be required to send as much CARES Act funding to private schools after a federal judge struck down a U.S. Department of Education rule issued in July.

The State Board of Education on Sept. 11, 2020, vetoed three out of eight new charter school operators seeking to open schools across the state. They voted to take no action on the other five, effectively approving them to begin operations in the 2021-22 school year.

On Aug. 18, the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s budget office released budget instructions and the policy letter that has become the standard method for directly communicating the leadership’s intentions to state agencies. Under more ordinary circumstances, these would have been distributed in June. The instructions come after Comptroller Glenn Hegar in July projected a $4.6 billion shortfall for current budget cycle, a significant swing from the estimated $3 billion surplus forecast last October.

TEA recently announced the availability of a free, optional, online formative assessment resource tool (TFAR) consisting of a TEKS-aligned item bank, test-builder, and data reports. All STAAR-tested grades and subjects will have items available in TFAR. The tool is designed to support teachers in gaining real-time, formative feedback on student learning as instruction occurs.

School administrators and some other school employees, including teachers and counselors, have a duty to report to a local health authority if they suspect that a student or a staff member may have the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Failing to report may constitute a crime. Failing to report or failing to restrict reporting to reports required by law or rule could have ethics implications.

TEA’s Highly Mobile and At-Risk Student Programs Division conducted a Virtual Listening Tour with nine school districts during Spring 2020 to better understand the complex needs and challenges experienced by educators, to identify training and guidance needs, and to cultivate innovative strategies and solutions that can be shared with all schools.