TEA released a letter this week notifiying administrators that 2018-19 school year waiver requests for districts that are unable to provide bilingual certified teachers for the required bilingual program or English as a Second Language certified teachers for the required ESL program are due to TEA by Nov. 1, 2018.

This comes on the heels of a recent significant TEA rule change increasing the certification requirements for teachers in bilingual or ESL programs, including requiring teachers in an ESL/content-based program model that serves students identified as English learners through English instruction to be appropriately certified in ESL under TEC, §29.061(c), as well as in English language arts and reading, mathematics, science, and social studies (depending on the content area taught). Additionally, the new rules require teachers serving students in an ESL/pull-out program model that serves students identified as English learners through English instruction to be appropriately certified ESL teacher under the TEC, §29.061(c), as well as in English language arts and reading.

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, districts should be aware that TEA is allowing waivers from these provisions for the 2018-19 school year.