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New SBEC Rules for ESL Certification Standards

July 26, 2019 • Jennifer Barton

SBEC Proposes New Rules for ESL Certification Standards

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) adopted a new rule concerning supplemental certificate standards for teachers of English Learners. The new rule, which went into effect July 21, 2019, updates the current standards required for teachers seeking English as Second Language (ESL) certification.

Why the change?

Given the ever-changing student demographics in the state and the datedness of the current ESL exam, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has engaged in a process with stakeholders to revise educator standards for ESL. The standards are part of 19 TAC Chapter 235, Subchapter F, which codifies rules for supplemental certificate standards.

The anticipated benefits of the changes are more rigorous, relevant, and reliable requirements for the preparation, certification, and testing of classroom teachers upon entry into the profession. It also supports retention of those qualified to teach English learners for years to come because they’ll be more knowledgeable and prepared to serve the needs of English learners in the classroom.

New standards framework

The new rule, 19 TAC §235.115 English as a Second Language Standards, targets classroom teachers of English Learners. The standards address the discipline associated with the theory and practice of teaching students who have a primary language other than English. The standards inform best teaching practices and address the following content areas:

  • Foundations of Language Acquisition
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Effective Instruction and Assessment
  • Language Proficiency Assessment and Placement
  • Professional Learning
  • Partnerships and Advocacy

Implementation cycle

For the first five years the proposed rule is in effect, there’s no fiscal impact on school districts or current ESL teachers. The new proposal won’t require any additional reporting or paperwork for principals or classroom teachers, and districts won’t need to take any action other than implementing current procedures of verifying certification requirements for teachers of English learners.

Future impact

English language learners now represent nearly 15 percent of the total student body statewide, totaling more than 700,000 students. ESL teachers in Texas serve as a vital bridge between English learners and opportunities for academic achievement and lifelong success. With the proposed revision of standards for ESL certification, districts will benefit from an increased pool of fully prepared and qualified candidates to teach the growing populations of English learners across the state.

More information

You can find the full brief for Adopted New 19 TAC Chapter 235, Classroom Teacher Certification Standards, Subchapter F, Supplemental Certificate Standards here.


Jennifer Barton is a Compensation and HR Consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Jennifer an email at jennifer.barton @tasb.org.


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Tagged: Certification, "English as a Second Language", ESL, "Teacher certification"