fbpx
Contact Us

Update on Texas Teachers

The 240 team is here to help you answer all of your questions about te recent events involving Texas Teachers. We’re here to help every step of the way, if you have any questions please reach out to us at admin@240certification.com

Blackboard Teaching vectors

Video Transcript

Scott Rozell

Hello. This video is gonna be talking about Texas Teachers and their recent headlines in the news about if they are going to be shutting down. So my name is Scott Rozell and I’m the founder and CEO of 240 Tutoring. And we have a lot of our customers that are candidates at Texas Teachers, and they have a lot of questions.

So we wanted to make a nice objective video kind of outlining the facts about Texas Teachers and what it means for candidates. So I asked the director of certification at 240 Certification Lara Cavin to come kind of answer some questions. So Lara, thank you so much for being here. How are you doing today?

Lara Cavin

I’m doing great. Thank you for having me, Scott.

Scott Rozell

And what is your role at 240 Certification?

Lara Cavin

My role as director of certification and compliance, essentially making sure that I retire program meets and exceeds the requirements outlined in Texas Administrative Code. Hey, we want to stay in business and make sure that we get our teachers certified and ready for the classroom.

Scott Rozell

Yes, we do. So Texas Teachers has been making a lot of headlines recently. Can you kind of tell us what’s going on with this audit and what it means to go in for SBEC?

Lara Cavin

Absolutely. And first, let me begin by giving a little bit of contextual background about that SBECt. Meeting what is SBEC, who is aspect and who is TEA and how are they involved in all of this? Well, SBEC is the State Board of Educators Certification they write the rules, they enforce them and then adapt them to support the needs of the learning community.

Now we have TEA their role is to be that liaison between public schools educator preparation programs SBEC really they’re a support to make sure that we just stay in compliance and that we are legitimately able to certify teachers. Now, every five years, all EPPs go through a rigorous audit through TDA to see how they’re following the rules of SBEC in reference to Texas Teachers.

They were last audited spring of 2021 and as a result of the findings, they were to submit a compliance report to address the areas of noncompliance. So out of nine areas that were evaluated seven of them required major compliance issues to be addressed. Well when they submitted these corrections TEA found that Texas Teachers had not successfully addressed many of these deficiencies, which places potential risk for them in certifying teacher candidates moving forward.

Scott Rozell

So what I’m hearing you say is SBEC is like the judge that the TEA was kind of like the police officers. The TEA busted Texas Teachers for some sort of infraction let’s say maybe like speeding. And then they gave him a warning, Texas Teachers didn’t improve. They kept breaking rules and now police officers taking them in front of the judge.

So the TEA is saying, hey, we got to go talk to SBEC about this. This is not OK. And they’re escalating the situation because Texas Teachers is out of compliance. Is that about right?

Lara Cavin

Pretty much, that’s correct, Scott.

Scott Rozell

So what infractions did the TEA. find in Texas?

Lara Cavin

Well, with infractions in seven different components, that’s quite a lot to cover. So let me just look at some of the more profound areas one of the more difficult ones to digest were the advertisements that ill-advised candidates. Not only did their website contain quite a bit of out-of-date information but there were some advertisements that directly contradicted the requirements of TAC.

For example, there was an advertisement on the website indicating that candidates could complete clinical teaching in 14 weeks. That is a direct violation of TAC. Yes, clinical teaching last 14 weeks, but that did not even include the prerequisite coursework that’s required leading up to clinical teaching. And Scott, here’s a second example. Last year there were interns, intern teachers, who had already begun teaching in the classroom.

It was advertised that everyone accepted and the Texas Teachers in the early summer months could begin teaching with minimal requirements. This can be true in some cases if late hire candidates are correctly identified. That’s not everybody. There are specific rules and requirements surrounding that. So what happened? A large pool of teachers who should not have been in the classroom teaching because they didn’t have their prerequisites, started getting their intern certificates pulled. They were clueless and then all of the assignments started changing. And when you look online, cannidates are starting to say, hey, I just got kicked out of the classroom. What happened? It gave the appearance that TEA had changed the rules when in fact the rules have been the same quite a while. And this is likely I don’t know for sure, but it could be the reason why the teacher in the Dallas Morning News article had to quit teaching.

Scott Rozell

So what I’m hearing you say is the program allowed or didn’t tell teachers that they had to meet certain requirements. They allowed them to start teaching without meeting those. Once they got caught, then they kind of seemed to imply that it was TEA’s fault when Texas Teachers wasn’t following the rules. And then the candidate is the one with the short end of the stick.

Lara Cavin

Yes. So it was an implication they didn’t come out and directly say it’s his fault. But when you look at their website, that’s when it gave the appearance of absolutely.

Scott Rozell

So that’s a lot there. Are there any other infractions?

Lara Cavin

Well, a couple of more. There were excessive complaints made to TEA about the program. They couldn’t get a hold of anybody. They couldn’t get their questions answered. And then there were also quite a few candidates when they couldn’t get their questions answered, they were rerouted to TEA. So you had a whole lot of people going to TEA to ask questions when really the program needs to be the ones answering these questions for the candidates.

Scott Rozell

So they didn’t answer their phone and people had contact the state. Is that all, is that all are there more infractions?

Lara Cavin

Well, I’m almost finished. So let’s look at the online curriculum. It was not documented as being research-based, for example, online programs. You can’t just throw whatever you want online and call it an online curriculum. There has to be some checks and balances. One of the options that EPPs can go through to make sure that it’s a quality curriculum is using a using quality matters compliance.

And Texas Teachers did start this process four years ago. However, it hadn’t progressed in the last four years. They did the application, but then it just kind of stopped there. And we did notice that in the TEA and SBEC meeting several times mentioned the fact that the online curriculum had not progressed with the compliance issues, with quality matters.

I forgot there wasn’t there wasn’t enough on campus support. So we had teachers in the classrooms who didn’t have mentors and observations were taking place outside of the school there.

Scott Rozell

So observations is where a field supervisor comes in to the classroom, make sure that, you know, you’re doing a good job teaching and kind of helps you answer your questions there. Really, there is a support, right?

Lara Cavin

Absolutely. But coaching and mentoring is key.

Scott Rozell

How do you do a classroom observation outside the school day?

Lara Cavin

I wish I could help you. I’m not sure.

Scott Rozell

Oh, and then for quality matter, so they were supposed to have an accredited curriculum and then they started it. But after four years they didn’t do anything besides what submit the first document or something?

Lara Cavin

That’s our understanding.

Scott Rozell

OK, so what does this mean for Texas Teachers? What’s the next step for them?

Lara Cavin

Well, the goal is, of course, to bring them back into compliance, and that will take some time. I’m sure candidates are asking, what does this mean for them? Well, originally, TEA was recommending that they have these deficiencies rectified prior to October, the end of October. However, it’s my understanding that TEA and Texas Teachers are to go back into negotiations to discuss a timeline to move forward in compliance.

In essence, TEA had recommendations but SBEC indicated that they wanted tighter standards. This does leave the future for Texas Teachers uncertain. I mean, we hope for the best, but it’s just very uncertain right now.

Scott Rozell

So going back to the police analogy, the police officer TEA brings Texas Teachers in and says they violated the rules. We think the punishment should be this. The judge says that’s not punitive, severe, strict enough. Go back and come up with a better solution. And they they want more stricter standards. Is that right?

Lara Cavin

Yes. But again, Scott, we won’t know anything more until a new formal timeline is established. The worst-case scenario, worst case is that Texas Teachers would be unable to continue certifying teachers. And although unlikely that that would occur, at least we hope that doesn’t occur. The state is not going to just leave their candidates high and dry. They will have opportunities to transfer to other programs to continue getting their certification.

Scott Rozell

So that kind of brings me to my next question. What does this mean for teachers in the program? So if I’ve done all the Texas Teachers coursework, I pass my test and I’m currently teaching right now, I’m going to either finish up in the spring or the fall with my first year teaching. So what would you recommend that I do?

Lara Cavin

Well, if you’re very close to starting that teaching, you finish your test, you finish your observations. If you’re close to the finish line, stay the course you’re in, you’re very likely going to be able to finish before any formal decisions are made. Moving forward.

However, if you were in the middle or even the beginning or just were accepted in Texas Teachers, I really would encourage you to just explore your options, look at your personal situations. What guarantees do you need moving forward and then just talk to somebody? There are plenty of other EPPs out there who would be able to help and who would be willing to answer questions for you.

Scott Rozell

So the farther along you are in the process of certification with Texas Teachers, more, most likely the safer you are.

Lara Cavin

Stay the course.

Scott Rozell

And then if they have questions about certification and kind of what it means for them if they’re enrolled or considering Texas Teachers, what’s the best way to kind of get questions answered about their situation and what they can do going forward?

Lara Cavin

Well, let me take a step back, because I think if anyone is considering potentially transferring programs or even just questioning up to this point, I would like to share a couple of things that are very important to consider. When you’re looking at do I say or do I consider transferring? Ask yourself, what is the reputation of the program?

Lara Cavin

We want to look at the official reputation and then the unofficial when are you looking for a face to face or an online program? Does the program offer the certification you’re seeking? I would certainly ask around to figure out what EPPs would be a good fit for you. Now, when you’re looking at transferring, EPPs have different transfer policies and can accept different levels of coursework just based on their individual policies.

So current certification testing, of course, is almost always transferable. Well, at 240 Certification, just speaking for us, we would be able to accept observation hours with proper documentation and would gladly review prior coursework with Texas Teachers to see what may be transferable if you have specific questions about the transfer process, please feel free to reach out to us and allow someone from our team to help you answer your questions.

Scott Rozell

So what I’m hearing you say is the testing, the Texas exam transfers, observation hours can transfer sometimes coursework transfers, you know, but if they’re concerned about their long term status in the program, it’s probably best to get someone who answers the phone on the call.

Lara Cavin

Talk to somebody.

Scott Rozell

Perfect well, that’s super helpful. And then we will follow up and if we have any more questions or we’ll be sure to bring you back on.

Lara Cavin

Hey, let me just finish with this 240 Certification is a program for teachers. By teachers. Our goal is to create positive and professional pathways to teacher certification. Our program is designed to help make the teaching certification process more clear, and it has been built on the foundation of Texas Administrative Code. So anyone who just wants to reach out or desire additional information, please visit our website at 240certification.com or email us at admin@240certification.com.

Scott Rozell

Perfect. Thanks. So much, Laura.

Lara Cavin

Thank you for having me, Scott.