Update on draft of new state accountability system

The following is a description of Texas's draft proposed state accountability plan as of February 2018. The plan is still evolving as TEA is currently seeking stakeholder input, with a revised plan expected to be released in March

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TCTA urges SBEC to protect sanctity of Educator Code of Ethics

TCTA urged the State Board for Educator Certification at its March 2 meeting to refrain from making excessive changes to the Educator Code of Ethics.

Among the proposed revisions proposed by TEA staff was making it a Code of Ethics violation for an educator to fail to comply with any written directive from an administrator. TCTA pointed out in testimony that, not only was the standard overly broad, but in many cases it would involve situations that do not rise to the level of “unethical” behavior, which is what the Code of Ethics governs. TCTA strongly suggested that the appropriate place to make many of the revisions suggested by TEA staff was in the educator disciplinary rules.

Delegates elect new state officers, vote on dues structure during 2018 Annual Meeting

Delegates at TCTA's 2018 Annual Meeting in Austin on Feb. 23 approved a revised dues structure beginning with the 2018-19 school year and elected officers to four positions on the Executive Board. Those gathered at the Renaissance Austin Hotel also heard from State Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Bahorich and the Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, founder and executive director of Pastors for Texas Children, earned CPE hours and discussed other association business. 

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TEA clarifies school district special education responsibilities

After filing an initial draft corrective action plan in response to orders from USDE's Office of Special Education Programs to address various special education problems in Texas public schools, TEA sent school districts a reminder of their specific responsibilities for identifying, evaluating, and serving special education students.  

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TRS Board considers controversial change to key pension fund figure

On the first day of the TRS Board of Trustees’ three-day retreat in Edinburg, the board faced what some referred to as possibly the most important decision it would make this year — whether to lower the pension fund's assumed return rate for TRS investments. The result — to delay making a decision until April — was at least a temporary win for educators, with more work to be done.

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TRS Board to consider key change in fund's measure of health at February meeting

The TRS Board of Trustees, at an upcoming three-day meeting, will consider a change in how the financial health of the pension fund is gauged.

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TEA proposes teacher training as part of its special education fix

TEA proposes to provide statewide professional development to all teachers on special education as part of its initial draft corrective action plan in response to orders from USDE's Office of Special Education Programs to address various special education problems in Texas public schools.

TEA will begin with training institutes that address inclusive practices and instructional techniques as well as broader identification and Child Find practices. 

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Tell TEA how to fix special education problems

Responding to federal orders and a directive from Gov. Greg Abbott, TEA released a draft special education corrective action plan on Jan. 18, 2018, along with an online survey to solicit public input on the plan through Feb. 18. Survey responses are confidential, and educators, parents and students are encouraged to participate.

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TEA submits federal accountability waiver request for hurricane-impacted schools

After significant urging from TCTA, educators and Gov. Greg Abbott, Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced in mid-December that he would seek a federal accountability waiver for hurricane-impacted schools/districts. The official waiver request was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on Jan. 30, 2018. Morath's wording does not make clear whether the request specifically seeks relief from ESSA's provisions related to accountability ratings.

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TRS offers one-time re-enrollment period for retirees who dropped out of TRS-Care in 2017

Due to the changes made recently in school retiree health insurance, many retirees opted to drop their TRS-Care coverage. Re-enrollment after dropping TRS-Care is typically only allowed in special circumstances (e.g., the death of a spouse). However, TRS has received a number of requests from retirees wishing to re-enroll and has opened up enrollment through Feb. 28, 2018, for retirees who terminated their coverage between June 1, 2017, and Jan. 1, 2018.

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