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Recap: State Board for Educator Certification

Notes on the SBOE April 29 Meeting

May 4, 2022
The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met on Friday, April 29 to hear an update from Deputy Commissioner of Educator Support at the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Kelvey Oeser, and address regular agenda items.

There was much discussion among SBEC members regarding the various agenda items including:
  • Update on the Teacher Vacancy Task Force
  • Item 17: Consideration of proposed agreed order for A+ Texas Teachers educator preparation program
  • Item 18: Advancement to the State Board of Education (SBOE) of the edTPA educator certification exam
Update on the Teacher Vacancy Task Force
At the time of this April 29 meeting, TEA had been interviewing teachers to fill the 24 slots allotted to teacher members on the Teacher Vacancy Task Force. TEA has since selected teachers to add to the task force. The task force will have its next meeting on June 2.

TEA’s update highlighted:
  • Teachers are the single most important in school factor impacting students.
  • COVID-19 has caused serious disruption to teacher attrition, but the number of teachers has continued to expand; Much of this is due to the growth of teachers in the field through alternative certification.
  • Teachers certified through alternative certification programs are shown to leave the workforce sooner and at a higher rate.
  • New teachers are also more likely to leave the field sooner and tend to work more with low-income students and students of color.
  • TEA’s strategic priorities aim to address these issues through recruitment, support and retention of teachers and principals.
Watch the full exchange about the Teacher Vacancy Task Force at these time stamps of the archived video – 13:55 to 39:02.
Item 17: Approval for proposed agreed order for A+ Texas Teachers Educator Preparation Program
SBEC and the A+ Texas Teachers (also known as Texas Teachers of Tomorrow) educator preparation program have been working to reach an agreed order of action for the educator certification program to make improvements to their program after having been found out of compliance in 7 out of 9 of SBEC’s compliance guidelines, and after remaining out of compliance after a year in which the program was given time to reach compliance and failed to do so. Read more in an article published by the Dallas Morning News or watch SBEC staff explain this agenda item beginning at 1:55:33 of the archived video.

SBEC did not approve the agreed order proposed in Item 17 of the meeting. Instead, SBEC directed staff to re-negotiate a new order with A+ Teachers, with discussion among SBEC members reflecting a desire that the new order have greater thresholds of compliance and review more candidate files than had previously been done. Read more about this discussion here.
Item 18: Advancement to the State Board of Education (SBOE) of the edTPA educator certification exam
Following a three-year pilot in Texas, SBEC considered advancing the edTPA educator certification exam to the State Board of Education. This exam requires teachers to submit a portfolio with a sample lesson plan, a  video of themselves teaching in the classroom, and evidence of students’ learning as a result of the lesson. SBEC staff explain this agenda item at the beginning of Part 2 of the archived video.

SBEC passed the edTPA educator certification exam with an 8 to 1 vote, and it moves to the SBOE for consideration. SBOE will still need to approve the test before the certification would be fully adopted. If approved, it will become an optional test in 2022-2023 and then required as a pass/fail exam in 2023-2024 before being fully implemented in 2024-2025. The edTPA would replace the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam which has been in use since 2002.

SBEC members heard public testimony and had a robust discussion on this topic. More discussion is expected to come at the upcoming June 14-17 SBOE meeting.

Notable Exchange:

During the discussion on Item 18, the edTPA exam, SBEC member Andrew B. Lofters, Ph.D., asked TEA staff to provide further information about districts of innovation. Specifically, he asked if some statutes could be subverted to allow teachers to be hired before they are fully certified but in the process of being certified.

Philanthropy Advocates has commissioned research from the University of Houston Education Research Center to analyze the implementation of the districts of innovation policy for teacher certification and flexibility. At a time when many school districts are struggling to recruit and retain teachers, we aim to provide further nuance and detail around how current flexibility provided by districts of innovation in hiring certified educators is implemented.

Watch this exchange.

Watch the full meeting here – Part 1 & Part 2.

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