At its Jan. 9, 2015, meeting, SBEC made TCTA-suggested changes to rules that establish a process to file complaints against educator preparation programs with TEA.

SBEC-adopted TCTA suggestions

  • Expand the list of eligible complainants to include not only currently enrolled students but also recent graduates of educator preparation programs, as well as campus administrators;
  • Clarify that only people for whom the educator preparation program grievance process is available must exhaust that process before filing a complaint with TEA. All others may file complaints with TEA without going through the grievance process;
  • Require that educator preparation programs post information on how to file a grievance with the program; and
  • Require that educator preparation programs attempt to resolve grievances filed under the program's local grievance policy in a timely manner so that the complainant is not delayed in pursuing a complaint with TEA if necessary.

TCTA testifies on limited scope of complaints

TCTA expressed concerns that the rules limited the types of complaints that TEA/SBEC would act upon to violations of Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code and of SBEC rules, but that TCTA members have shared concerns about violations outside of these limits.

Although the SBEC declined to expand the scope of allowable complaints, several board members said they would be interested in TEA and other stakeholders gathering data about complaints that fall outside of the established parameters so they could decide if the limitations should be reconsidered.

TEA staff explained that every complaint made to TEA would initially be accepted and given a tracking number, then staff would determine whether it was within the allowable parameters. Upon further pressing by TCTA, TEA staff confirmed that even complaints falling outside of the rules’ stated parameters would inform TEA/SBEC action regarding particular educator preparation programs.

Watch TCTA’s testimony.

TCTA thwarts proposal that would have drawn out disciplinary cases

TCTA also successfully thwarted a proposal that could have significantly delayed the resolution of disciplinary cases brought against educators. The proposed rule change would have kept all settlement agreements between educators and TEA attorneys and investigators from being finalized until approved by the SBEC, which meets only four times per year.

Currently, TEA attorneys and staff can finalize settlement agreements with educators, resulting in quicker disposition of cases and less time that an educator must have his/her certificate flagged as “under investigation.” However, upon receiving legal advice that statute might not support SBEC's delegation to staff of this duty, staff proposed that SBEC approve all settlement agreements.

TCTA testified against the proposal, pointing out provisions in current law that appeared to make SBEC's delegation of this duty legal, as well as providing statistics illustrating the increase in cases that the board would have to consider at its quarterly meetings. Upon hearing TCTA's testimony, the board went into executive session with its attorneys and emerged without taking further action on the proposal. 

Watch TCTA’s testimony.