SBEC will approve lifetime legacy master teachers; discusses how COVID-19 has impacted educators

After urging by TSTA and an explanation of legislative intent by the House public education chairman, the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) will remove the expiration dates from legacy master teacher certificates.

Earlier this year, SBEC believed that House Bill 3 made the certificates non-renewable upon expiration. But Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty told the board, in a letter delivered in February, that was not the legislative intent. Lawmakers, he said, had intended only to avoid a confusion of terms with the separate “master teacher” designation under the new teacher incentive allotment created in the law. Huberty said lawmakers didn’t intend to prevent educators who hold master teacher certificates from continuing in their placements.

At Friday’s virtual SBEC meeting, TSTA lobbyist Carrie Griffith provided testimony in support of a recommendation to remove the expiration date from the legacy certificates, and the board agreed, instructing the drafting of a new rule to be approved at a later meeting.

Here is TSTA’s testimony.

In other business before the board, the Texas Education Agency presented the “three buckets” that SBEC-related issues have fallen into since the pandemic: those impacting clinical experiences, those impacting educator certification and testing requirements, and those impacting fall admission to educator preparation programs. A first round of governor-issued waivers helped to relax the time and placement requirements of internships and student teaching, and a second round of waivers increased flexibility for certain candidates to receive one-year probationary certificates. TEA’s Ryan Franklin explained that his team has only begun planning for issues related to admission and entrance requirements for candidates entering programs in the fall.

SBEC also heard testimony from representatives of the University of Texas at Austin on the need for pandemic relief funding for induction support for the newest teachers. They emphasized how these teachers will have limited preservice experiences and will be teaching students with lost learning. TEA said that beginning teacher support is a “huge priority” and the agency was looking at the federal CARES Act as a potential funding source.

Read a fuller report on the SBEC meeting, including an update on renewal and fingerprinting procedures, here.