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Legislative Changes Related to Educator Certification

A teacher standing and speaking in front of a full classroom.

This article provides a summary of bills passed in the 86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature addressing certification requirements for educators and licensing requirements for certain professionals.

Science of teaching reading certification requirement (House Bill (HB) 3 Section 2.005)

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is required to adopt rules requiring demonstrated proficiency on a certification exam in the science of reading instruction to teach prekindergarten through sixth grade. Each class of SBEC certification issued after January 1, 2021, will be subject to this requirement. (Effective 9/1/2019)

Master teacher certification/designation (HB 3 Sections 2.006, 4.001, and 5.005)

Master teacher certifications for reading, math, technology, and science under Texas Education Code (TEC) § 21.0481–§ 21.0484 have been repealed. Effective September 1, 2019, SBEC is prohibited from issuing or renewing these certificates. SBEC is required to recognize master teaching certificates until they expire and then SBEC will note “legacy” on the certificate.

HB 3 creates the Local Optional Teacher Designation System (LOTDS) and authorizes school districts and open enrollment charter schools (OECS) to designate certified classroom teachers as master, exemplary, or recognized teachers. This designation is for five years and is based on appraisals complying with the legal standards for teacher appraisal. A teacher with National Board Certification issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards may be designated as recognized. Designations will be placed on a teacher’s certification and SBEC will be responsible for placing or removing a designation from certificates.

The bill requires the commissioner to establish performance and validity standards for each LOTDS and ensure each meets statutory requirements and prioritizes high-needs campuses. TEA is charged with providing technical support for the implementation of LOTDSs, including prioritizing high needs campuses, and will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Texas Tech University to monitor LOTDSs across the state.  

HB 3 creates teacher incentive allotment grants for each classroom teacher with a designation, with increased amounts for teachers at rural and high-needs campuses. TEA will share more information in a To The Administrator Addressed letter in September and in a HB 3 in 30 video webinar on the teacher incentive allotment on October 3, 2019. (Effective 6/12/2019)

Certification of Education Majors (HB 3217)

This bill allows students who want to become teachers to take more baccalaureate-level education courses or major in education. The bill removes the 18-hour cap on BA-level education course semester credit hours SBEC requires for a teaching certification. In addition, SBEC is now required to include a minimum number of semester credit hours of field-based experience or internship for individuals applying for a teaching certification. (Effective 5/24/2019)

Military Spouses With Out-Of-State License (Senate Bill (SB) 1200)

This bill authorizes military spouses to work, temporarily, in an occupation that requires a license without obtaining the applicable license if the person is licensed and in good standing by another jurisdiction with equivalent licensing requirements. Under this provision, a license includes a certificate or permit required by law, rule, or state agency. To qualify, the spouse must follow a process that includes notifying the relevant state agency of his or her intent to practice and submitting proof of residency and military identification. The spouse is authorized to work under this provision for a maximum of three years and only if the spouse remains stationed at a military installation in the state. State agencies are required to adopt rules to implement these provisions for the issuance of a license to a qualified military spouse. Agencies may not charge a fee for the issuance of the license. (Effective 9/1/2019)

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April Mabry
April Mabry
Best Practices: Salary Notification Letters

April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools  since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.

Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.

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