Districts can spend bilingual funds on teacher certification test fees, related travel and substitute teacher pay

After the Texas Education Agency announced in late September that it was accepting waiver requests from school districts that are unable to provide bilingual or English as a Second Language certified teachers for the required bilingual and ESL programs, it then published a document specifying that school districts applying for these waivers can use state bilingual allotment funds to reimburse teachers for certification tes

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Brady files bill to revise Social Security penalty

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) have re-filed a late-session bill that would revise the calculation of benefits for Texas teachers and other employees who are currently subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The bill also was filed in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as S. 3526. Given that Congress is in its last several weeks of the current congressional session, the bills are unlikely to progress.

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TEA seeks educators to evaluate grade 3-8 ELAR instructional materials

The Texas Education Agency is seeking educators to work with its contractor, Safal Partners, to review English language arts and reading instructional materials in grades 3-8 to evaluate their quality.

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TEA: New rules don’t require all ELAR teachers to obtain ESL certification

After adopting rule changes increasing the certification requirements for teachers in bilingual or English as a Second Language programs, TEA’s Division of English Learner Support recently issued a statement to clear up some common misconceptions regarding the requirements, chiefly that not all English language arts and reading teachers need to obtain ESL certification to meet the new regulations. 

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TCTA leads push to limit abbreviated teacher training program

After gaining the support of the State Board of Education in September, TCTA took the final step in a successful fight to prevent expansion of an abbreviated route into teaching at the State Board for Educator Certification's Oct. 5, 2018, meeting. During testimony, TCTA persuaded the SBEC board to back the original proposal it reviewed in March, ensuring that teacher preparation programs continue to require at least 150 hours of pre-service training for most certificates.
 

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Waiver allowed for new English learner certification requirements

TEA is accepting waiver requests through Nov. 1 for districts and charter schools that are unable to provide bilingual or English as a Second Language certified teachers for the required bilingual and ESL programs. This follows a recent significant TEA rule change increasing the certification requirements for teachers in bilingual or ESL programs. TCTA has received calls from many content-area members who are being required by their school districts to obtain ESL certification immediately in order to meet the new rule requirements; however, the waivers will allow a reprieve from these provisions for the 2018-19 school year.

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TEA updates information on certification test re-take limits

State law limits the ability of a candidate seeking educator certification from attempting to pass the applicable certification test more than five times, unless the State Board for Educator Certification waives the limit for good cause. TEA recently updated its webpage devoted to this issue, providing links to the test-limit waiver application and a FAQ document.

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Expenditures working group gives report to school finance commission

The expenditures working group of the Texas School Finance Commission presented its recommendations to the entire commission on Tuesday. The working group recommends eliminating some of the current funding allotments and using the bulk of the savings to fund some targeted programs the group hopes will improve student achievement. The largest allotment recommended for repeal is the Cost of Education Index, which currently distributes about $3 billion per biennium in an attempt to account for higher costs primarily in urban school districts.

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TRS-Care premiums will not increase for 2019

The TRS Board of Trustees opted not to increase retiree premiums for TRS-Care at the board's September 2018 meeting.

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SBOE backs TCTA position in vote to reject SBEC teacher prep rule

Persistence paid off when, after fighting a rule weakening entry into the teaching profession every step of the way at the State Board for Educator Certification, TCTA convinced the State Board of Education to reject the rule when it came to the SBOE for review. The SBOE voted unanimously Friday to reject the rule and send it back to SBEC for possible revisions at its October meeting. TCTA will be there to ensure that any revisions address TCTA’s concerns.

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