Q: Are districts still required to send parents notices regarding teacher qualifications?
A: Yes, parent notification regarding the professional qualifications of a student’s teacher and paraprofessional are required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Texas Education Code § 21.057. The ESSA requirements are similar to those of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
In the past, the state notification was waived if the district was required to send the NCLB notice. This waiver no longer applies and districts should consider sending both the ESSA and state notice until Texas statute is updated.
In schools receiving Title I funds, the district is required by the ESSA to notify parents at the beginning of each school year that they may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s teacher. The ESSA also requires that parents be notified if their child has been assigned or taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet applicable state certification or licensure requirements.
Texas law requires that parents be notified if their child is assigned for more than 30 consecutive instructional days to an uncertified substitute, inappropriately certified teacher, or an uncertified teacher. Inappropriately certified or uncertified teachers include individuals on an emergency permit (including individuals waiting to take a certification exam) and individuals, including substitutes, who do not hold any certificate or permit.
Inappropriately certified or uncertified status does not apply if the individual:
- Has a temporary classroom assignment permit (TCAP)
- Is in an alternative certification program
- Is serving with a school district permit
- Holds an out-of-state/country one-year permit
- Has hearing impairment certificate
- Serves under a waiver granted by the commissioner of education
Districts must make a good-faith effort to ensure that the notice is provided in a bilingual form to any parent or guardian whose primary language is not English. Sample letters in English and Spanish that meet the state requirement are available in the Certification section of the HR Library.