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.

State law requires that all SBEC rules be reviewed by the elected State Board of Education, and either accepted or rejected (but not modified) by the SBOE.  

The objectionable SBEC rule had been developed in response to legislation passed last session. The bill required SBEC to establish an abbreviated educator preparation program for a new Trade & Industrial Workforce Training certificate. TCTA and other stakeholders worked with TEA staff to develop a proposal that reduced the overall number of coursework/training hours for this new certificate from 300 to 200, but otherwise maintained the same breakdown of hours/requirements as for all other teacher certification programs (currently, all teacher certification programs require at least 300 hours of coursework/training). However, the bill’s author and several stakeholders from the San Antonio area requested that TEA staff change the proposal in several significant ways: reducing the required number of pre-service coursework/training hours from 150 to 80, allowing entities other than SBEC-approved teacher certification programs to offer the training, and expanding the abbreviated training program to Marketing and Health Science certificates. 

TCTA strongly objected to the changes, testifying against the proposal each time it was presented to SBEC for approval and adoption. After much discussion, and a close vote (3-4) on a motion to reject the expansion to Marketing and Health Science, SBEC ultimately approved the proposal and it progressed to the SBOE for review.

At the SBOE Committee on School Initiatives meeting on Thursday, committee members engaged in a lengthy dialogue with TCTA’s Holly Eaton (click here to watch the testimony beginning at 34:07) regarding each of the concerns Eaton mentioned, including the importance of extended pre-service training and exposure to the classroom for success as a teacher, and the potential damaging effects of expanding an abbreviated educator preparation program to certificates other than the Trade & Industrial Workforce Training certificate. Committee members also asked TCTA how the SBOE should direct SBEC to change the rule upon rejecting the rule and returning it to SBEC. TCTA’s suggestions were echoed by each of the other teacher groups in the testimony that followed.

Prior to the board meeting, TCTA also sent a letter to all SBOE members, explaining that the adopted SBEC rules exceeded the plain language of the enabling statute and set a harmful precedent for further erosion of high standards for entry into the teaching profession.

Given the unanimous vote to reject the rule, it is widely expected that SBEC will revise the rule to address the concerns raised by TCTA and others.