Three TCTA members are among the six finalists for the 2017 Texas Teacher of the Year Award. Julie GarzaCalvin Lambert and LaGay Pittenger will be among those interviewed by a panel of judges this fall before winners are announced Oct. 14. Seven other TCTA members were named regional finalists in the awards program coordinated by the Texas Association of School Administrators. Click here to read more.

TCTA presented invited testimony Aug. 16, 2016, to the Senate Education Committee as part of a panel addressing an interim committee charge related to raising the standards of teacher preparation programs. In addressing high-quality teacher preparation, TCTA focused on a key aspect that research shows leads to successful teaching careers: extensive pre-service exposure to real classrooms for teacher candidates. TCTA highlighted a clinical teaching model, which would involve financially supported, yearlong clinical co-teaching experiences for teacher candidates, and pointed to a recent report advocating such a model. Read more

TCTA ensured that provisions requiring school districts to give written notice to campus staff before putting video cameras in their classrooms were included in TEA’s finally adopted rules issued last week, implementing SB 507 from the 2015 session requiring video surveillance in certain special education settings in order to promote student safety. Read more

Texas has more than 1,200 public school districts, so it’s understandable that what works in one place may not always be good education policy in another. That’s why some districts are taking advantage of a 2015 law that allows them to become exempt from many provisions of the Texas Education Code — but are they making wise choices? Click here to find out.

TCTA President Donna Corbin was in Austin recently for the first meeting of a Texas Education Agency stakeholder group created to give input on state guidance regarding local implementation of federally required teacher equity plans. Read more

The Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability held its final meeting this week and voted to adopt final recommendations for its report to the governor and Legislature ahead of a Sept. 1, 2016, deadline. Read more

HR 711, a bill that would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and replace it with a fairer calculation of Social Security benefits for Texas school employees and other similarly situated government workers, was scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, July 13, as part of a budget markup session in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. However, it was pulled down at the beginning of the meeting.

The Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability held its next-to-last meeting in June. Commission members are working toward recommendations for the Legislature to consider next session about how to revise the state’s current testing and accountability systems. However, the group is finding it difficult to get down to the nuts and bolts of a very complex issue.

TEA announced that it is accepting applications from Education Service Centers and their partnering school districts to participate in a writing pilot study program for the 2016-2018 school years. Legislation passed last session required TEA to conduct a study during the 2015-2016 school year to develop an alternative method of assessing writing in grades 4-7, as well as the English I and II end-of-course exams. TEA is required to pilot the alternative writing assessment method in designated school districts across the state during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years. Click here to read more.

The TRS Board of Trustees adopted premium rates and plan changes for TRS ActiveCare, the TRS ActiveCare HMOs, and TRS-Care. 

ActiveCare rates will increase from 0 to 5 percent, depending on the coverage selected: rates for ActiveCare HD-1, the lowest level of coverage will not increase; ActiveCare Select premiums will increase by 2.3 percent, and ActiveCare 2 rates will go up by 5 percent. Click on the links below for more details: