TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 89. ADAPTATIONS FOR SPECIAL POPULATIONS

SUBCHAPTER DD. COMMISSIONER'S RULES CONCERNING HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY PROGRAMS

19 TAC §§89.1403, 89.1409, 89.1417

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) adopts amendments to §§89.1403, 89.1409, and 89.1417, concerning the High School Equivalency Program (HSEP). The amendments are adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the November 25, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 9217) and will not be republished. The adopted amendments modify rules for HSEPs to update references; simplify language for meeting required state assessment instruments for admission into the program; and amend conditions of program operation to reflect the change to multiple testing vendors, align with statute, and remove obsolete language.

REASONED JUSTIFICATION. The Texas Education Code (TEC), §29.087, authorizes the operation of HSEPs and outlines program requirements, including application to operate a program, and student eligibility. TEC, §29.087(n), authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules for the implementation and administration of HSEPs. The rules in 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter DD, implement the provisions of the TEC, §29.087.

The adopted amendments modify HSEP student eligibility language to update references to statute and a state agency name. The amendments also update the language for state assessment requirements. Lastly, the amendments make necessary changes to conditions of program operation to reflect the change to multiple high school equivalency test vendors, align with a statutory change from instructional days to minutes, and remove obsolete language.

Section 89.1403, Student Eligibility, was updated to reference the applicable section of the Family Code rather than the Code of Criminal Procedure for court-ordered students. In addition, Texas Youth Commission was updated to Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

The following changes were made in §89.1409, Assessment. Subsection (a) was amended to use the general term state assessment instruments rather than stating each required assessment for a particular school year or naming specific assessment instruments. Subsection (a)(3) was deleted because it is redundant. Subsection (b) was updated to reference the applicable section of the Family Code rather than the Code of Criminal Procedure for court-ordered students, and Texas Youth Commission was updated to Texas Juvenile Justice Department. In subsection (c), vendor-specific language was deleted since Texas now allows multiple testing vendors.

Section 89.1417, Conditions of Program Operation, was amended in subsection (a) to delete the requirement that HSEPs submit an annual progress report to the TEA. The requirement was specific to a certain testing vendor and is no longer required since Texas now allows multiple testing vendors. Subsections (b), (c), and (e) are obsolete and were deleted. Subsection (d), relettered as subsection (b), was amended to align with House Bill 2610, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, which changed instructional days to minutes.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AND AGENCY RESPONSES. The public comment period on the proposal began November 25, 2016, and ended December 27, 2016. No public comments were received.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendments are adopted under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §29.087, which authorizes the commissioner to allow schools to operate high school equivalency programs that meet certain conditions and parameters established by the statute and commissioner rule.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The amendments implement the Texas Education Code, §29.087.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 25, 2017.

TRD-201700374

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Effective date: February 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-1497