SBEC hears test tampering case

The State Board for Educator Certification on Friday revoked the certification of an educator accused of helping students on the TAKS test. Students had accused the educator of providing help on the TAKS test in one year and in the following year, 100 percent of his students scored at the Commended level. SBEC made the decision based on a recommendation from the Administrative Law Judge who heard the case following a review of testimony from students, an erasure review of student test booklets, and a comparison of students’ test performance across two different test administrations one month apart.

SBEC Redefines “Deferred Adjudication”

Under an amendment to Chapter 249 of the Texas Administrative Code, the State Board for Educator Certification has defined deferred adjudication to include the following language:  In a contested case under this chapter, the defendant’s acceptance of deferred adjudication in a criminal case may be considered as prima facie evidence regarding whether the defendant committed the conduct underlying the criminal charge.

This additional language stands in stark contrast to the purpose of deferred adjudication, a process designed to provide an opportunity for a person to have a criminal case dismissed if s/he meets certain conditions for the dismissal. SBEC’s definition establishes an additional standard whereby a person could have criminal charges dismissed following the successful completion of deferred adjudication yet still be considered guilty relative to any action being considered by SBEC.

SBEC Codifies Issuance of Warning Letters

As a part of the amendments to Chapter 249 of the Texas Administrative Code, SBEC has added language giving it the authority to issue a “warning” letter to an educator when there is insufficient evidence to support allegations of misconduct or if the allegations do not rise to a level that requires official SBEC action.  Discussion focused on ensuring an opportunity for rebuttal by an educator receiving a warning letter from SBEC.