Complaints Against Educator Preparation Programs
The complaint process allows for an applicant, candidate, employee or former employee of an EPP, a cooperating teacher, a mentor, or an administrator in a school district, charter school, or private school to submit a complaint about an EPP for investigation and resolution.
The complaint process allows individuals to seek redress in areas where they feel that the program did not fulfill requirements for certification or for actions that the individual feels are wrong. Educator preparation programs may also file a complaint about the actions of other EPP programs when it involves a candidate’s transfer into or out of a program.
Not all complaints fall under the authority of TEA. TEA has jurisdiction to investigate allegations of noncompliance regarding specific laws and rules, generally related to state and federal requirements. Complaints may address educator preparation program requirements listed in Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §§ 227, 228, 229, ethics (TAC 247), fingerprinting (TAC §§227, 232) and certification (TAC §§230, 231, 232, 239, 241, 242). TEA staff and the SBEC do not have jurisdiction over complaints related to contractual arrangements with an EPP, commercial issues, obtaining a higher grade or credit for training, or seeking reinstatement to an EPP.
Filing a Complaint
All complaints filed with the TEA must be in writing. We do not accept complaints by phone or complaints that are submitted anonymously. A person or entity may file a written complaint with TEA by filling out the complaint form online or by mailing or faxing a hard copy to the address on the form.
To adequately review and address a complaint, TEA needs specific details. We must be able to identify a clear violation of TAC and determine whether the agency has authority to act upon the allegation.
Complaints submissions should include the following:
- The reasons you believe the issues raised in your complaint are valid. You should also indicate how you believe that TEA can assist you with this matter.
- Documentation to support your claim when possible. For example, if you refer in your complaint to an educator preparation program policy, include a copy of the policy with your complaint. Helpful documentation might include letters or e-mails exchanged between the parties.
After the Complaint Is Filed
Texas Education Agency staff will send confirmation of a complaint within 30 days of receiving the submission. Remember, information the public sends to TEA by email may not be secure. Do not email sensitive information to TEA. The agency will remove confidential or sensitive information when replying by email. TEA will maintain confidentiality of information to the extent the law allows.
TEA staff will record all complaints in the TEA complaints tracking system. Each complaint, no matter the severity, shall be assigned a tracking number. The complaint will be forwarded to the division responsible for educator preparation for further action, including assessing the complaint, providing a severity status and prioritizing the complaint accordingly, and determining jurisdiction. If TEA staff determines that the complaint is not within the State Board for Educator Certification's (SBEC) jurisdiction, TEA staff shall notify the complainant that the complaint will be closed without action for lack of jurisdiction. If TEA staff determines the complainant knew or should have known about the events giving rise to a complaint more than two years before the earliest date the complainant filed a complaint with either TEA staff or the EPP, TEA staff will notify the complainant that the complaint will be closed without action. If a complainant has not exhausted all applicable complaint and appeal procedures that the EPP has established to address complaints, TEA staff may delay initiating an investigation until the EPP's complaint and appeal process is complete.
Upon completion of an investigation, TEA staff will notify both the individual and the EPP in writing of the findings of the investigation. If TEA staff finds that a violation occurred, the notice will specify the statute and/or rule that was alleged to have been violated. Each party will have ten business days to present additional evidence or to dispute the findings of the investigation.
After reviewing any additional evidence, if TEA staff finds that no violation has occurred, the complaint will be closed and TEA staff will notify both parties in writing. After reviewing any additional evidence, if TEA staff finds that the EPP has violated SBEC rules and/or TEC, Chapter 21, additional actions will be taken against the EPP.
The final disposition of the complaint will be recorded in the TEA complaints tracking system.