TCTA testified at the Aug. 3, 2018, State Board for Educator Certification meeting against a proposal to expand the types of certificates that could be obtained via a shortened educator preparation program. In response, SBEC member and TCTA immediate past president Suzanne McCall made a motion to strike the objectionable language in the rule, but the motion failed by a narrow margin, 3-4. Accordingly, the proposal will proceed to the State Board of Education for approval or rejection. TCTA will continue to advocate for maintaining high and consistent standards for entry into the teaching profession throughout the remainder of the process.

In response to legislation passed in 2017, requiring SBEC to establish an abbreviated educator preparation program for a new Trade & Industrial Workforce Training certificate, the board has spent its last couple of meetings considered draft rule language for adoption to implement the requirement.

Although original draft versions of the rule text presented to the board in December 2017 and March 2018 merely provided that the abbreviated program would require a total of at least 200 hours of training (all other teacher certification preparation programs require at least 300 hours of training), new language expanding the abbreviated program to Marketing and Health Science certificates was presented at SBEC's May meeting and for final adoption at the August meeting.

Additionally, the new proposal called for a reduction of pre-service training hours for these certification candidates from 180 to 110, and allowed for almost half of the training to be provided by entities other than approved educator preparation programs (such as school districts and CPE providers).

TCTA testified against the proposal at the May and August meetings, cautioning the board not to adopt the new language, given that it went beyond the bounds of the plain language of the legislation and expanded situations in which teacher certification candidates receive significantly less training than has been traditionally required. TCTA also expressed concern that, since individuals pursuing the Trade/Industrial Workforce Training certificate may hold only high school diplomas and come from fields far removed from education, it is even more important that they receive sufficient pre-service training in order to be successful in the classroom. 

TCTA also pointed out that allowing almost half of the training to be provided by an entity other than an EPP raises significant policy issues regarding who has the responsibility to ensure that the training meets SBEC standards, who will be held accountable under the EPP accountability system for the preparedness of the certification candidates, and at what point a training entity other than an EPP effectively becomes an EPP.

Although the board preliminarily approved the proposal in May, board members expressed particular concern about the proposed expansion to Marketing and Health Science certification and directed TEA staff to gather more stakeholder input prior to voting on the item for final adoption in August. TEA staff presented input from marketing and health science professional organizations expressing no opposition to the proposal. However, a number of organizations, including TCTA, submitted written comments on the posted proposed rule in opposition to the expansion; there were no public comments to the rule in support of the expansion.