The 86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature made significant changes to address early elementary literacy by adding an additional requirement for the prekindergarten through grade six (PK–6) certification examination.
Aspiring teachers testing for a PK–6 certification issued by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) after January 1, 2021, must demonstrate proficiency in the science of teaching reading. This requirement is an amendment to Texas Education Code (TEC) §21.048 (a-2).
This month, SBEC amended current rules to create four replacement certificates, and announced the process of transitioning certification examinations to include the science of teaching reading as a proficiency component.
Updated certificates and examinations
To comply with requirements of legislative changes related to the science of teaching reading, current teaching certificates that cover grades PK–6 must be updated to reflect the inclusion of this component. The current and adopted replacement certificate titles are as follows:
- Core Subjects: Early Childhood–Grade 6 changes to Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Early Childhood–Grade 6
- Core Subjects: Grades 4–8 changes to Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Grades 4–8
- English Language Arts and Reading: Grades 4–8 changes to English Language Arts and Reading with Science of Teaching Reading: Grades 4–8
- English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies: Grades 4–8 changes to English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies with Science of Teaching Reading: Grades 4–8
New certificates will be issued no earlier than January 1, 2021, and a person must satisfy all requirements for issuance of one of these certificates.
Current examinations will also change due to the addition of the science of teaching reading requirement, and candidates will have to pass the appropriate examination to be eligible to apply for the updated certificate.
Any individual seeking initial certification in grades PK–6 after January 1, 2021, will need to prepare to demonstrate proficiency in the science of teaching reading on a certificate examination. This requirement will impact certified individuals seeking to add additional certification, as well as those individuals aspiring to apply for initial certification by participating in an alternative certification program.
District personnel will also need to be aware of these certification changes and ensure candidates hold the appropriate certification for PK–6 assignments once rules go into effect. While updated changes may be of minimal impact to districts, new requirements will help ensure educators are qualified and professionally prepared to meet the instructional needs of all school children in the state of Texas.
Jennifer Barton is a compensation and HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Jennifer an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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