Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015. ESSA is the main body of federal legislation governing public education and replaced the former “No Child Left Behind Act”.  One of the provisions eliminated by the Every Student Succeeds Act was the former NCLB requirement for all teachers of core academic subjects to be “highly qualified.” (See "The standard for Elementary Highly Qualified" below.) However, special education teachers of core academic subjects are still subject to the component of “highly qualified” requiring demonstration of competency in every core subject taught. Texas requires, for special education teachers, if an individual is providing content instruction in a special education classroom setting, a valid certificate that matches the subject and grade level of the assignment is also required, or the individual must demonstrate competency through the state's high objective uniform State standard of evaluation for elementary and secondary special education teachers. Texas’s “high objective uniform state standard of evaluation (HOUSSE) is as follows:

Elementary school teachers HOUSSE

Competency is demonstrated by meeting all of the following criteria:

  • The teacher has at least one creditable year of teaching experience (occurring in 2008-2009 or earlier).

AND

  • The teacher has a minimum of 24 points derived from any combination of the following:

    1) Experience teaching at the elementary level
    1 year=1 point
    (maximum of 12 points)

    2) College coursework in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and/or Social Studies*
    1 college hour=1 point

    3) Professional development that meets the standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit established by SBEC rules, as codified in the Texas Administrative Code (Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 232, Subchapter R).
    15 CPE clock hours=1 point

AND

  • Each of the subjects (English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies*) is represented in the 24 points, whether through experience, college coursework or professional development.

*Note: The Social Studies requirement may be met through coursework or CPE hours in government, history, economics, geography or political science.

HOUSSE for Secondary Special Education Teachers

The special education teacher has at least one creditable year of teaching experience in the subject to be taught or in a closely related field and must document 24 points derived from:

• Meeting the standard for Elementary Highly Qualified (9 points for competency in reading/language arts, math, science, or social studies); (See "The standard for Elementary Highly Qualified" below.)

OR

Passing an appropriate TExES Certification Exam (Note: Special Education Supplemental TExES does not demonstrate subject competency):

  • EC-12 Special Ed (or competency in reading/language arts or math) ;
  • or 4-8 Generalist (for competency in reading/language arts, math, science, or social studies);
  • or 4-8 Content Specific Exam (for specific content area only) (12 points for competency in the appropriate content area)

AND

Experience teaching in the core academic subject area or related field at the secondary level [1 year = 1 point (maximum of 12 points) 2];

AND/OR

College coursework in the core academic subject area or closely related field (1 college hour = 1 point);

AND/OR

Professional development in the core academic subject area or related field that meets the standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit {as defined in TAC, Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 232, Subchapter R} [ 15 CPE clock hours = 1 point ].

NOTES:

  1. If using the Elementary HOUSE option for documenting the 9 points for meeting the standard for Elementary Highly Qualified, the teacher may not count the same college coursework or professional development for meeting Elementary HOUSE and Secondary Special Ed HOUSE.
  2. If using the Elementary teaching experience under the Elementary HOUSE option for documenting the 9 points for meeting the standard for Elementary Highly Qualified, the teacher may only count a maximum of 12 years teaching experience in any combination under this HOUSE option.
  3. Districts may allow 6 points of college coursework or professional development for Special Education strategies and modifications.)

The standard for Elementary Highly Qualified is:

A teacher must have:

  • At least a bachelor’s degree;

AND

  • Full state certification* (includes probationary certificates in some circumstances, and for charter school teachers, state certification requirements specific to charter schools);

AND

  • Demonstrated competency in the core academic subject area assigned.

Demonstrating competency

For elementary teachers, there are two options: pass the applicable state certification exam OR meet a "high, objective, uniform standard of evaluation" (HOUSSE) (see Elementary school teachers HOUSSE above).

TEA has defined which fields may be considered "closely related" when determining a secondary teacher’s status under HOUSE. For foreign languages, there are no closely related fields. This list is not comprehensive; LEAs (school districts) may consider other fields as "closely related," as appropriate, but must maintain clear documentation of what is used to determine "highly qualified" status.

English

  • Reading
  • Speech
  • Journalism

Reading/Language Arts

  • English
  • Speech
  • Journalism

History

  • Geography
  • Government
  • Economics
  • Political Science

Economics

  • Government
  • History
  • Geography
  • Political Science

Geography

  • History
  • Economics
  • Government
  • Political Science

Civics and Government

  • History
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Political Science

Science

  • Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Life/Earth Science
  • Physics
  • Chemistry

Arts

  • Art
  • Music
  • Theatre arts
  • Dance

Mathematics

  • Engineering
  • Statistics
  • Accounting

Foreign Languages

None—For purposes of HOUSSE, one foreign language is not considered "closely related" to another; therefore, experience teaching French, for example, cannot be counted toward experience teaching German.