It’s been a busy week for Texas public education. Here are this week’s big stories:
The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is meeting today, Oct. 16, and acting on several high-profile issues, including certification standards for superintendents. Read our blog post from earlier this afternoon about the board’s decision to allow superintendents to pursue certification despite having no prior experience as a certified teacher or principal.
After hearing testimony from ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann and others opposed to the SBEC proposal, the board did vote today to modify its rule so as to require superintendent candidates at least to hold a graduate degree and also require school boards to notify the public of their rationale for hiring any non-traditionally trained superintendents under the new rule. The SBEC rule as adopted today heads next to the State Board of Education for review before it can be implemented.
Read ATPE’s press release on today’s vote.
ATPE congratulates Revathi Balakrishnan on being named the 2016 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year (TOY).
Revathi is an ATPE member and TAG specialist for Patsy Sommer Elementary School in Round Rock ISD. The TOY Program recognizes educators who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching and is overseen by the Texas Association of School Administrators.
ATPE Executive Director Gary Godsey and State Vice President Julleen Bottoms were among those in attendance at today’s ceremony where the winners were announced.
Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced this week his plans to resign at the end of the calendar year. After notifying Gov. Greg Abbott of his decision in writing, Williams notified his staff at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on Thursday morning, Oct. 16, and thanked them for their efforts. Williams cited a desire to return to his home in Arlington from which he has commuted to work in Austin for many years.
An attorney and former member of the Texas Railroad Commission, Williams has held the post overseeing Texas public schools since September 2012, when he was appointed by former Gov. Rick Perry. He previously served under the administration of President George H.W. Bush as assistant secretary of education for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
ATPE issued a written press statement yesterday on the commissioner’s announcement.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced today its plans for implementing House Bill 743 of 2015 to shorten the duration of some STAAR tests. ATPE Lobbyist Monty Exter provided an update today on our Teach the Vote blog about the developments. View TEA’s press release about the testing changes here, and view ATPE’s press release on the announcement here.
On Monday, Oct. 12, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released his interim charges for the Senate Education Committee to study this year and next. The topics include such familiar education issues favored by conservative lawmakers as private school vouchers and expanding charter schools. Read the complete list in our Teach the Vote blog post from Monday. Patrick has already directed the Senate Committee on State Affairs to study the practice of payroll deduction for processing of educators’ and other public employees’ voluntary dues payments to professional organizations such as ATPE.
The Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Board of Trustees will be holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, Oct. 22, beginning at 8:30 a.m. to discuss health care issues, including TRS-Care and TRS-Activecare. The meeting will be interactive and anyone viewing through the TRS website will be able to submit questions electronically. ATPE will be participating on a panel to discuss how increased costs and funding deficiencies affect active and retired public education employees. Teach the Vote will provide updates on the event next week.