May 2017, Vol. 2

HR Extras

Commissioner issues clarification on T-TESS measures

All major components of the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) remain in place following a legal agreement with various teacher organizations in the state, according to Commissioner of Education Mike Morath.

The organizations, which include the Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas American Federation of Teachers, filed separate lawsuits to block Morath from putting the evaluation system in place. Under T-TESS, a portion of the teachers’ evaluation must be tied to student STAAR results.

Student growth will remain part of statutorily-required teacher appraisal systems in either the state-recommended system or a locally-developed system a school district may wish to adopt.

A TEA news release last week stated the Commissioner wants to ensure districts know they can pursue any valid student growth measure they choose and the references to the four ways to measure student growth will be removed from rule to make that explicitly clear. Districts can track growth however they want, as long as it’s measured.

For more information, read the most recent TEA release on teacher evaluations.

USCIS begins issuing redesigned Green Cards

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a redesign to the Permanent Resident Card—also known as a Green Card—as  well as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). These changes come as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project.

In the new design, the card displays the individual’s photos on both sides and shows a unique graphic image and color palette. There’s an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette. EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle in a mostly red palette.

The card also has embedded holographic images and no longer displays the individual’s signature.

USCIS began issuing the new cards on May 1. For more information, visit the USCIS Website.

TASPA Executive Director Rose Benitez steps down

After two years serving as the Executive Director of TASPA, Rose Benitez announced last week her decision to step down from her role in September.

Interested candidates can find information on how to apply for the vacancy here. The anticipated start date for the position is mid-September of this year.

Bills to watch

SB 1886 (Bettencourt) creates a new office of inspector general within the TEA responsible for the investigation, prevention, and detection of criminal misconduct and wrongdoing and of fraud, waste, and abuse in the administration of public education by school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, regional education service centers, and other local education agencies in this state.

SB 7 (Bettencourt) broadens those employees subject to educator misconduct related to improper relationships between educators and students and reporting of educator misconduct, creates a criminal offense and expands the applicability of an existing offense, and authorizes an administrative penalty. The bill applies the misconduct standards to individuals in schools who may not hold certificates or provide educational services at all. The bill also requires superintendents (or directors in certain circumstances) to report any instance of an educator who is terminated when there is evidence that misconduct occurred. Read the bill or its summary and view the House amendments. The bill now goes to the governor to sign, let it become law without his signature, or veto.
 
HB 3563 (Koop) requires notice to a parent or guardian regarding a teacher who does not meet certification requirements at the grade level and subject area in which the teacher is assigned instead of requiring notice if a teacher is not highly qualified. Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) explained that the bill seeks to reduce duplicative reporting in the wake of the shift from No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act.