Improving Access and Quality of Educator Certification in Texas

Ted Delisi, Government Relations Director

At Texas Teachers, a critical part of our mission is to engage lawmakers and state agency policymakers to advocate for regulations and laws that contribute to a stable, effective and transparent alternate route to teaching.  We make this advocacy a priority for us so that new teachers will continue to have every opportunity to start their teaching careers.

As the leading educator alternative certification program (ACP) in Texas, it is of paramount importance to us that the alternate route not only provides all the opportunities and flexibility that new teachers need, but that it also provides the necessary assurances for quality and continues to hold the confidence of all its stakeholders.

Our efforts in the 81st legislative session were very successful. Texas Teachers was instrumental in shaping legislation in 2009 that will help to improve the quality of educator certification in Texas and not place un-necessary and burdensome regulations on new teachers.  We want to ensure that every new legislative proposal takes into consideration the impact it would have upon the efforts and success of new teachers in beginning their careers.

As such, we helped write a new law that provides these essential elements and will further the alternate route’s ability to continue to produce the new teachers that our growing and diverse state will need for years to come.

Highlights of this new law include:

  • A provision that allows participants in ACPs to continue taking content tests so that they can more quickly market themselves for employment opportunities.
  • Incentives for college students to enter the education profession by taking the first steps towards their teaching career in their final semester of school.
  • Increased use of technology to help teaching candidates in meeting the requirements to be eligible to get hired.
  • Standardization of the ACP support functions integral to the success of new teachers.  This not only will help new teachers trained in an ACP, but it also reinforces confidence in the alternate route by the school districts hiring these teachers.
  • An increase in the standardization of required training hours and a protection to allow enough time for candidates to meet this requirement without jeopardizing their employment opportunities.  Now, no matter when candidates join programs, they will have sufficient opportunities to find employment while fulfilling their state-mandated training requirements.
  • Increased transparency by making more consumer information available to the public about programs and the individual’s options. Texas Teachers believes that more openness and public information is always a good thing to promote a healthy and competitive industry.