April 2018 Committee on School Initiatives Item 5

Review of Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 227, Provisions for Educator Preparation Candidates, Subchapter A, Admission to Educator Preparation Programs, and Subchapter B, Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility

April 13, 2018

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION


SUMMARY:
This item provides the State Board of Education (SBOE) an opportunity to review a State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rule action that would propose amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 227, Provisions for Educator Preparation Candidates, Subchapter A, Admission to Educator Preparation Programs, and Subchapter B, Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility. The proposed amendments would implement the statutory requirements of Senate Bill (SB) 1839 and House Bills (HBs) 2039 and 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: The statutory authority for 19 TAC Chapter 227, Subchapter A, is the Texas Education Code (TEC), §§21.031; 21.041(b)(1); 21.044(a) and (g)(2) and (3); 21.0441; 21.049(a); 21.050(a); and Texas Occupations Code (TOC), §§53.151, 53.152, and 53.153, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017. The statutory authority for 19 TAC Chapter 227, Subchapter B, is the TOC, §53.105.

TEC, §21.031, authorizes the SBEC to regulate and oversee all aspects of the certification, continuing education, and standards of conduct of public school educators, and states that in proposing rules under the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, the SBEC shall ensure that all candidates for certification or renewal of certification demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the performance of the diverse student population of this state.

TEC, §21.041(b)(1), requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the regulation of educators and the general administration of the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, in a manner consistent with the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

TEC, §21.044(a), requires the SBEC to propose rules establishing training requirements a person must accomplish to obtain a certificate, enter an internship, or enter an induction-year program.

TEC, §21.044(g)(2) and (3), requires each educator preparation program (EPP) to provide certain information related to the effect of supply and demand forces on the educator workforce of the state and the performance over time of the EPP.

TEC, §21.0441, requires the SBEC to adopt rules setting certain admission requirements for EPPs.

TEC, §21.049(a), authorizes the SBEC to propose rules providing for educator certification programs as an alternative to traditional EPPs.

TEC, §21.050(a), requires a person who applies for a teaching certificate for which SBEC rules require a bachelor's degree must possess a bachelor's degree received with an academic major or interdisciplinary academic major, including reading, other than education, that is related to the curriculum as prescribed under the TEC, Chapter 28, Subchapter A.

TOC, §53.151, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, sets the definitions of "licensing authority" and "occupational license" to have the meanings assigned to those terms by the TOC, §58.001.

TOC, §53.152, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, requires EPPs to provide applicants and enrollees certain notice regarding potential ineligibility for a certificate based on convicted offenses, the SBEC rules regarding the certificate eligibility of an individual with a criminal history, and the right of the individual to request a criminal history evaluation letter.

TOC, §53.153, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, requires an EPP to refund tuition, application fees, and examination fees paid by an individual if the EPP failed to provide the required notice under the TOC, §53.152, to an individual who was denied a certificate because the individual was convicted of an offense.

TOC, §53.105, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, specifies that a licensing authority may charge a person requesting an evaluation under the TOC, Chapter 53, Subchapter D, a fee adopted by the authority. Fees adopted by a licensing authority under the TOC, Chapter 53, Subchapter D, must be in an amount sufficient to cover the cost of administering this subchapter.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 227, Subchapters A and B, would be June 1, 2018.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: None.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: The SBEC rules in 19 TAC Chapter 227 are organized as follows: Subchapter A, Admission to Educator Preparation Programs, and Subchapter B, Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility. These subchapters provide for rules that establish requirements for admission to an EPP and preliminary evaluation of certification eligibility.

The following is a description of the proposed amendments included in Attachment II.

§227.1. General Provisions

Language would be amended to incorporate the requirements of the TOC, §§53.151, 53.152, and 53.153, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017. New subsection (d) would require EPPs to notify applicants and admitted candidates about the potential ineligibility of an individual who had been convicted of an offense for issuance of a certificate upon completion of an EPP, the current SBEC rules regarding the eligibility of a person with a criminal history for a certificate, and their right to request a preliminary criminal history evaluation letter. This letter would provide the applicant or admitted candidate with an evaluation from TEA staff advising of potential ineligibility for educator certification based on the individual's self-reported criminal history. New subsection (e) would require an EPP to refund tuition, application fees, and examination fees paid by an individual if the EPP failed to provide the required notice to an individual who was denied a certificate because the individual was convicted of an offense prior to the EPP providing notice. Based on input from EPP stakeholders, the SBEC approved limiting the examination fee liability of an EPP to examinations that were required to be passed to meet the admission requirements of the EPP and/or examinations that the EPP approved a candidate to attempt to prevent an EPP from having to refund testing fees from examinations unrelated to the individual's participation in that EPP.

New subsection (f) is being proposed to address deadlines in this chapter that cannot be met because of a disaster that results in the governor of Texas declaring a state of disaster. This amendment would allow TEA staff to extend deadlines in this chapter for up to 90 days to accommodate persons in the disaster areas identified by the governor's declaration.

§227.5. Definitions

Language would be amended to add a definition for undergraduate degree. New paragraph (15) would define undergraduate degree as a bachelor's degree earned from and conferred by an accredited institution of higher education (IHE). This definition would clarify various requirements that require an undergraduate degree and to distinguish between a bachelor's degree and an associate's degree. The rules related to career and technology education certificates that allow a high school diploma or associate's degree for admission to an EPP would not be affected by the addition of this definition.

§227.10. Admission Criteria

Language would be amended in §227.10(a)(3)(B)(ii) and (a)(4)(D) to clarify admission criteria for applicants who had previously been admitted to an EPP and are seeking to be re-admitted to the same EPP. Current rules prohibit TEA staff from providing test approval through the Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) route if an individual is seeking admission to an EPP that had previously provided test approval to the individual. The proposed amendment would prohibit TEA staff from providing test approval through the PACT route if an individual is seeking admission to an EPP that had previously provided test approval for any certification examination within the same certification class. Classes of certification include superintendent, principal, classroom teacher, reading specialist, master teacher, school librarian, school counselor, and educational diagnostician. This proposed amendment would strengthen the Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP) as it relates to the performance standard for certification examination results by requiring EPPs to be accountable for all tests for which they provided test approval.

Language would be added in proposed §227.10(a)(5) to require an EPP to check the credentials of an applicant who is seeking an initial certificate in a class other than classroom teacher to determine if the applicant already meets the admission requirements and the certification, experience, and/or degree requirements for issuance of a standard certificate. The EPP would need to inform an applicant in writing prior to admission of any deficiency that exists at the time of admission that would cause the individual to be ineligible for a standard certificate if the requirement is not met at the time the individual applies for a standard certificate. This proposed amendment would decrease the number of individuals who complete an EPP and pass the certification examination but are ineligible for a standard certificate because they do not meet the certification, experience, and/or degree requirement for the standard certificate.

The SBEC did not adopt language that was proposed in new subsections (f) and (g). Because the proposed language describes EPP requirements for candidates who already hold a classroom teaching certificate and are seeking to add the Early Childhood: Prekindergarten-Grade 3 certificate, it would be more appropriate to include these requirements in 19 TAC Chapter 228, Requirements for Educator Preparation Programs. This change at adoption is necessary because program requirements for other classroom teacher certificates are described in Chapter 228.

§227.15. Contingency Admission

Based on EPP stakeholder input, language would be amended in §227.15(e) to allow an EPP at an IHE to contingently admit an applicant who had been provided coursework and training by the IHE into a master's degree program leading to initial certification if the coursework and training was provided by the IHE at the undergraduate level to fulfill prerequisites for the post-baccalaureate program. Language would also be amended in this subsection to allow an EPP at an IHE to contingently admit an applicant who had been provided coursework and training by the IHE into a post-baccalaureate or alternative certification program if the coursework and training was provided by the IHE at the post-baccalaureate level as part of another program of study. This proposed amendment would allow an EPP at an IHE to contingently admit candidates who had completed coursework or training at the undergraduate or graduate level at the same IHE.

§227.17. Formal Admission

Based on EPP stakeholder input, language would be amended in §227.17(f) to allow an EPP at an IHE to formally admit an applicant who had been provided coursework and training by the IHE into a master's degree program leading to initial certification if coursework and training was provided by the IHE at the undergraduate level to fulfill prerequisites for the post-baccalaureate program. Language would also be amended in this subsection to allow an EPP at an IHE to formally admit an applicant who had been provided coursework and training by the IHE into a post-baccalaureate or alternative certification program if the coursework and training was provided by the IHE at the post-baccalaureate level as part of another program of study. This proposed amendment would allow an EPP at an IHE to formally admit candidates who had completed coursework or training at the undergraduate or graduate level at the same IHE.

§227.20. Implementation Date

Language would be amended so that the rules that were in effect on the date an EPP candidate was admitted to an EPP would determine the admission requirements applicable to that candidate. This proposed amendment would make the implementation of this chapter consistent with the implementation of the requirements for EPPs as provided in Chapter 228.

Subchapter B. Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility

Language would be amended in §227.103(a) to cite the correct rule reference for the preliminary criminal history evaluation fee. The current fee for this evaluation is $50.

SBOE Review of Proposed SBEC Rules

Under the TEC, §21.042, the SBEC must submit a written copy of each rule it proposes to adopt to the SBOE for review. The SBOE may reject the proposed rule by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the SBOE present and voting but may not modify a rule.

FISCAL IMPACT: The TEA staff has determined that there is no additional fiscal impact on state and local governments and there are no additional costs to entities required to comply with the proposed amendments. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required. There is no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed amendments do not impose a cost on regulated persons, another state agency, a special district, or a local government and, therefore, are not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: The TEA staff has determined that the proposed amendments do have a government growth impact pursuant to Texas Government Code, §2001.0221, as follows.

The proposed rules in §227.1(d) and (e) would create a new regulation to incorporate the requirements of the TOC, §§53.151, 53.152, and 53.153, as added by HB 1508, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017. The proposed rule in §227.1(d) would require EPPs to notify applicants and admitted candidates about the potential ineligibility of an individual who had been convicted of an offense for issuance of a certificate upon completion of an EPP, the current SBEC rules regarding the eligibility of a person with a criminal history for a certificate, and their right to request a criminal history evaluation letter. The proposed rule in §227.1(e) would require an EPP to refund tuition, application fees, and examination fees paid by an individual if the EPP failed to provide the required notice to an individual who was denied a certificate because the individual was convicted of an offense.

The proposed rules in §227.15(e) and §227.17(f) would limit an existing regulation that prohibits an EPP at an IHE to admit individuals who had previously completed coursework or training at an IHE. The proposed rules would also decrease the number of individuals who would not be eligible for admission to an EPP at an IHE because they were subject to the rule's applicability. The proposed rules would allow an EPP at an IHE to admit an applicant into a master's degree program leading to initial certification if coursework and training was provided by the IHE at the undergraduate level to fulfill prerequisites for the post-baccalaureate program. The proposed rules would also allow an EPP at an IHE to admit an applicant into a post-baccalaureate or alternative certification program if coursework and training was provided by the IHE at the post-baccalaureate level as part of another program of study.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT : The proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 227 would result in clear guidance for applicants and EPPs on requirements for admission to EPPs as well as eligibility for a preliminary evaluation of certification eligibility. The proposed amendments do not impose a cost on persons required to comply with the rules.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The proposed amendment to §227.1(d) would have an additional procedural requirement because an EPP would be required to develop a procedure to notify applicants and admitted candidates about the potential ineligibility of an individual who had been convicted of an offense for issuance of a certificate upon completion of an EPP, the current SBEC rules regarding the eligibility of a person with a criminal history for a certificate, and their right to request a preliminary criminal history evaluation letter.

The proposed amendment to §227.10(a)(5) would have an additional procedural requirement because an EPP would be required to develop a procedure to check the credentials of an applicant who is seeking an initial certificate in a class other than classroom teacher to determine if the applicant already meets the certification, experience, and/or degree requirements for issuance of a standard certificate.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
The proposed amendment to §227.1(d) would have an additional locally maintained paperwork requirement because an EPP would be required to notify applicants and admitted candidates about the potential ineligibility of an individual who had been convicted of an offense for issuance of a certificate upon completion of an EPP, the current SBEC rules regarding the eligibility of a person with a criminal history for a certificate, and their right to request a preliminary criminal history evaluation letter.

The proposed amendment to §227.10(a)(5) would have an additional locally maintained paperwork requirement because an EPP would be required to check the credentials of an applicant who is seeking an initial certificate in a class other than classroom teacher to determine if the applicant already meets the certification, experience, and/or degree requirements for issuance of a standard certificate.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: In accordance with the SBEC rulemaking process, a summary of comments received by the SBEC on its proposed rules is shared with the SBOE under separate cover prior to this SBOE meeting.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
None.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Take no action on the proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 227, Provisions for Educator Preparation Candidates, Subchapter A, Admission to Educator Preparation Programs, and Subchapter B, Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility, with an effective date of 20 days after filing the adoption notice with the Texas Register.

Staff Members Responsible:

Ryan Franklin, Associate Commissioner
Educator Leadership and Quality

Tim Miller, Director
Educator Preparation and Program Accountability

Attachments:
I. Statutory Citations (PDF, 28KB)
II. Text of Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 227, Provisions for Educator Preparation Candidates, Subchapter A, Admission to Educator Preparation Programs, and Subchapter B, Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility (PDF, 58 KB)