SOURCE: Texas Teachers ACP

October 21, 2008 09:55 ET

Texas Teacher Supply Could Drop More Than 50 Percent, Warn Advocates of the Alternate Route to Certification

Compliance With Proposed TEA Rules to Require Hundreds of Thousands of New Hours of Teacher Observations Is "Nearly Impossible"

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - October 21, 2008) - Advocates for alternative teacher certification programs are voicing concerns about new rules proposed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that could radically reduce the ranks of teachers in Texas. At issue are newly proposed rules from the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) that regulate the alternate route to teacher certification. The proposal would require local school districts to begin to offer hundreds of thousands of new hours of teacher observations this school year.

Speaking this week in Austin, an official with TEA admitted that capacity, logistics and timing issues make the SBEC's proposal almost impossible to comply with. Dr. Karen Loonam made the admission at a meeting of the trade association of Alternative Certification Programs (TACA) and Texas Association of Certification Officers (TACO). She stated in her presentation that it would be very difficult for new teachers to gain the proposed observation hours in a timely manner for them to be eligible to get hired by school districts next August.

SBEC suggested the only possible solution is for local school districts to change their observation policies to increase their offerings in order to accommodate this tidal wave of new demand set to come next year. Statewide, observers estimate that the Texas teaching supply could be slashed by more than half due to the inability of local school districts to comply with the proposed observation requirements.

The state's suggestion blind-sided school districts that were not aware they would be expected to shoulder the responsibility for providing increased observation hours to help new teachers comply. It also fails to account for the fact that most districts are already at or near maximum capacity. In fact, some districts such as the state's largest, Houston Independent School District, are scheduled to scale back their offerings next year. It has become too much of a disruption to the learning environment in schools.

"It appears the anticipated collision between reality and ideology is here," said Vernon Reaser, the President of Texas Teachers (www.texasteachers.org), which is the largest alternative certification program and the single largest producer of new teachers in Texas.

Many advocates for alternative teacher certification are calling on the Texas State Board of Education to send this proposal back to SBEC to be corrected. The Board will consider the proposal on November 20, 2008.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Dan Keeney, APR
    DPK Public Relations
    214-432-7556 (DFW)
    832-467-2904 (Houston)
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