TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 7. STATE BOARD FOR EDUCATOR CERTIFICATION

CHAPTER 230. PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR PREPARATION AND CERTIFICATION

SUBCHAPTER B. GENERAL CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

19 TAC §230.11

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) adopts an amendment to §230.11, concerning general certification requirements. The amendment to §230.11 is adopted with changes to the proposed text as published in the June 30, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 3344). The adopted amendment specifies the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) and the minimum scaled scores required for each section of the test to demonstrate English language proficiency for a candidate whose degree was earned outside the United States in a country where the official language is not English. The amendment also allows a candidate to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement if the candidate's degree was earned in a country outside of the United States where English is the official language as identified in Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C).

REASONED JUSTIFICATION: The purpose of 19 TAC Chapter 230, Subchapter B, General Certification Requirements, is to outline general certification requirements applicable to all individuals regardless of route taken to obtain Texas certification.

Under SBEC rule 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5), any applicant for a Texas educator certificate must "be able to communicate, listen, read, write, and comprehend the English language sufficiently to use it easily and readily in daily communication and teaching." For a candidate who earned his or her degree(s) outside of the United States at an institution of higher education (IHE) where the primary language of instruction is not English, the candidate must achieve a satisfactory score on an English language proficiency examination approved by the SBEC to satisfy this requirement. In 2006, the SBEC approved the TOEFL iBT as the English language proficiency examination and a passing standard of 26 on the speaking section only, which aligned with the previous examination. Although candidates must pass only the speaking section of the examination, they are assessed on all four sections of the TOEFL: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

At the December 2016 and March 2017 SBEC meetings, the Board directed Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff to solicit stakeholder feedback and convene a standards-setting committee to develop recommended cut scores for the TOEFL iBT. The Board directives included using all four sections of the TOEFL iBT in determining English language proficiency, cut score recommendations for each section or an overall score, and which candidates should be required to take the examination.

TOEFL Cut Scores

At the June 9, 2017, SBEC meeting, TEA staff presented the Board with the following standard-setting committee cut score recommendations for each section of the examination: 24 for speaking; 25 for listening, 25 for reading, and 21 for writing.

The SBEC approved for proposal in June 2017 and for adoption, subject to State Board of Education (SBOE) review, in August 2017 the following minimum scaled scores on the TOEFL iBT: 24 for speaking; 22 for listening; 22 for reading; and 21 for writing.

Language in adopted 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(B) clarifies that minimum scaled scores on the TOEFL iBT would be used to satisfy English language proficiency requirements. The scaled score requirements of 24 for speaking, 22 for listening, 22 for reading, and 21 for writing replace the current use of a score of at least 26 on only the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT. The minimum scaled scores for the listening and reading sections were changed from the committee's recommendation due to this being the first time individuals will be assessed on all four sections of the examination and the scores were still in the high proficiency designation.

An applicant would be required to earn the minimum score in all four sections (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) because all these English language proficiency skills are needed for an educator to use English readily and easily in communication and teaching. An applicant would be allowed to retake the TOEFL iBT to cumulatively achieve the required minimum scores on all sections of the test (i.e., test results from prior administrations that meet one or more of the requirements would count and not have to be retaken).

The SBEC-adopted minimum TOEFL iBT scaled scores, specified in 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(B), provide clarity to candidates and educator preparation programs on the required minimum scaled scores required by foreign-educated Texas certification applicants.

Candidates Required to Take TOEFL iBT

The Board also discussed which candidates should be required to take the TOEFL iBT to demonstrate English language proficiency and requested clarification on the procedures used by TEA staff to ensure that foreign-educated applicants graduated from IHEs where English was the primary language of instruction. Currently, applicants are required to submit official university transcripts showing degree conferred and date from either an IHE in the United States where English is the primary language of instruction or from an IHE outside the United States where the primary language of instruction was English.

On August 4, 2017, the SBEC added at adoption, subject to SBOE review, new §230.11(b)(5)(C) to allow candidates who have earned their degree outside of the United States to satisfy the English language proficiency requirements. English must be verified as the official language of the country, and the country must appear on the SBEC-approved list that appears in Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C).

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AND BOARD RESPONSES. The public comment period on the proposal began June 30, 2017, and ended July 31, 2017. The SBEC also provided an opportunity for registered oral and written comments at the August 4, 2017, meeting in accordance with the SBEC board operating policies and procedures. No comments were received regarding the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §230.11.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is adopted under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.003(a), which states that a person may not be employed as a teacher, teacher intern or teacher trainee, librarian, educational aide, administrator, educational diagnostician, or school counselor by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit issued as provided by the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B; §21.031, which authorizes the SBEC to regulate and oversee all aspects of the certification, continuing education, and standards of conduct of public school educators; §21.041(b)(1), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the regulation of educators and the general administration of the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, in a manner consistent with the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B; §21.041(b)(4), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the requirements for the issuance and renewal of an educator certificate; and §21.041(b)(5), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the requirements for the issuance of an educator certificate to a person who holds a similar certificate issued by another state or foreign country, subject to TEC, §21.052.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The adopted amendment implements the Texas Education Code, §§21.003(a), 21.031, and 21.041(b)(1), (4), and (5).

§230.11.General Requirements.

(a) The only credits and degrees acceptable for certification of educators are those earned from and conferred by accredited institutions of higher education. All credit hour requirements for certification are semester credit hours or their equivalent.

(b) An applicant for a Texas educator certificate must:

(1) be at least 18 years of age;

(2) submit to the criminal history review required by the Texas Education Code (TEC) §22.0831, not be disqualified by the TEC, §21.058, §21.060, or other Texas statute, and not be subject to administrative denial pursuant to §249.12 of this title (relating to Administrative Denial; Appeal) or a pending proceeding under Chapter 249 of this title (relating to Disciplinary Proceedings, Sanctions, and Contested Cases);

(3) not be disqualified by federal law;

(4) be willing to support and defend the constitutions of the United States and Texas;

(5) be able to communicate, listen, read, write, and comprehend the English language sufficiently to use it easily and readily in daily communication and teaching. English language proficiency shall be evidenced by one of the following:

(A) completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States; or

(B) verification of minimum scaled scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) of 24 for speaking, 22 for listening, 22 for reading, and 21 for writing; or

(C) if an undergraduate or graduate degree was earned at an institution of higher education in a country outside of the United States listed in the figure provided in this subparagraph.

Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C) (.pdf)

(6) successfully complete appropriate examinations prescribed in §230.21 of this title (relating to Educator Assessment) for the educator certificate sought; and

(7) satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

(A) complete the requirements for certification specified in this chapter, Chapter 233 of this title (relating to Categories of Classroom Teaching Certificates), Chapter 239 of this title (relating to Student Services Certificates), Chapter 241 of this title (relating to Principal Certificate), or Chapter 242 of this title (relating to Superintendent Certificate), and be recommended for certification by an approved educator preparation program;

(B) qualify under Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Texas Educator Certificates Based on Certification and College Credentials from Other States or Territories of the United States);

(C) qualify under §230.105 of this title (relating to Issuance of Additional Certificates Based on Examination);

(D) qualify for a career and technical education certificate based on skill and experience specified in §233.14 of this title (relating to Career and Technical Education (Certificates requiring experience and preparation in a skill area)); or

(E) qualify under Chapter 245 of this title (relating to Certification of Educators from Other Countries).

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 September 27, 2017.

TRD-201703915

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

State Board for Educator Certification

Effective date: October 17, 2017

Proposal publication date: June 30, 2017

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


CHAPTER 232. GENERAL CERTIFICATION PROVISIONS

SUBCHAPTER A. CERTIFICATE RENEWAL AND CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

19 TAC §232.9

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) adopts an amendment to §232.9, concerning certificate renewal and continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. The amendment to §232.9 is adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the March 31, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 1701) and will not be republished. The adopted amendment clarifies procedures used by the automated system to process late applications submitted for standard certificate renewal.

REASONED JUSTIFICATION: Current 19 TAC Chapter 232, General Certification Provisions, establishes the renewal requirements relating to types and classes of certificates issued, CPE hours to be completed, and the national criminal history record information review.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §232.9 clarifies procedures the automated system uses to renew an educator's certificate(s) when the educator files a late renewal application.

Texas standard certificates have effective (start) dates and expiration (end) dates. The timeframe between the start and end dates of a standard certificate is considered the validity period for that certificate cycle. During that time, individuals should be accruing the required CPE hours for certificate renewal (i.e., 150 hours total for classroom teacher certificates and 200 hours total for certificates other than classroom teacher). Individuals are allowed to submit on-time applications for certificate renewal as early as six months prior and up to the certificate expiration date. Standard certificates not renewed by their expiration date immediately move from "valid" to "inactive" status. Standard certificates remain inactive until they are renewed. Once the renewal has been processed, based on submission of the online application and required fees, confirmation of CPE hours, and a clear background check, the next validity period is posted to the educator's online record of certification.

The renewal of Texas standard certificates is an online, automated application process that requires each educator to respond to a series of affidavit questions, pay the required application fee, complete the fingerprinting process, and provide TEA with the date that all CPE hours for renewal were completed. A renewal application for either certificate class is considered to be on time if it is submitted before or by the expiration date of the certificate. An online application for certificate renewal is considered complete when all questions have been answered, including the date that the required CPE hours were completed, when the required renewal fee has been paid, and when the fingerprint status for an educator shows as "Complete." Once an educator has completed the fingerprinting process for certificate issuance purposes, he or she is not required to repeat that process for future certificate applications.

An individual who submits an online renewal application within the first six months after the certificate expiration date is required to pay a late fee in addition to the renewal fee. If all CPE hours were completed before or by the certificate expiration date, once the late renewal application has been processed, there will be no break in certification validity periods for the certificates being renewed (i.e., the beginning of the next certificate renewal period is dated to begin immediately after the last certificate expiration date).

An individual who submits a renewal application more than six months after the certificate expiration date is required to pay the late fee, a reactivation fee, and the renewal fee. The adopted amendment clarifies that if all CPE hours have been completed, once the late renewal application has been processed, the certification will have a new effective date and will show a break in validity from the prior expiration date to the new effective date. The next certificate renewal period will be the date the educator enters as the completion of CPE requirements, provided it is not more than 60 days prior to the date of the application.

Between September 1, 2012, through December 31, 2016, approximately 80% of the total applications submitted (181,401) were processed as on-time certificate renewals; approximately 15% of the total applications submitted (28,160) were processed as late renewals within the first six months after the expiration of the certificate validity period; and approximately 5% of the total applications submitted (12,893) were processed as late renewals more than six months after the expiration of the certificate validity period.

Language in 19 TAC §232.9(b) clarifies that the automated processing of late renewal applications submitted within six months of the certificate expiration date makes an educator's next certificate renewal begin date the same as the expiration date of the last certificate, as long as the educator has submitted a complete online application, paid renewal fee(s), completed the fingerprinting process, and confirmed that he or she has completed the required CPE hours for certificate renewal prior to the expiration date. Language was also added to clarify the automated processing of late renewal applications and the effective date for the next certificate renewal period for educators submitting online renewal applications more than six months after the certificate expiration date. The new language confirms that upon receipt of a complete online application, renewal fee(s), fingerprinting, and confirmation that an educator has completed the required CPE hours for certificate renewal, the automated processing will issue an effective date for the next renewal period. The adopted amendment to §232.9(b) clarifies that SBEC allows those who are late in renewing a certificate, but have otherwise completed all renewal requirements, to renew effective when the previous license expired. This process keeps otherwise qualified educators in the classroom, resulting in less disruption to students. The adopted amendment is intended to prevent public confusion regarding the effective date of late-renewed certificates.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AND BOARD RESPONSES. The public comment period on the proposal began March 31, 2017, and ended May 1, 2017. The SBEC also provided an opportunity for registered oral and written comments at the June 9, 2017, meeting in accordance with the SBEC board operating policies and procedures. Following is a summary of the public comments received and corresponding board responses regarding the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §232.9.

Comment: An individual commented that fees being imposed for certificate renewal are extensive, may create an undue hardship to some beginning teachers or teachers on a tight budget, and create another obstacle for a teacher that may have left the field (after 3-5 years) and is considering returning.

Board Response: The SBEC disagreed. Certification renewal fees for standard certificates are authorized by the TEC, §21.041(c). The amendment to 19 TAC §232.9 does not add any new costs to educators. Additionally, the statute requires the fees to cover the cost of the certification and renewal process. The SBEC maintained language as published as proposed.

Comment: An individual stated that the proposed amendment is incompatible with other sections of the rule and allows SBEC to protect professional educators who are derelict in their responsibility to timely renew their certificate in order to maintain their eligibility for employment as a professional educator in a public school district.

Board Response: The SBEC disagreed and maintained that the procedures the SBEC follows in processing late renewal applications do not violate any of its own rules. TEC, §21.003, gives guidelines to school districts regarding who they can hire as teachers and the voidability of teacher contracts in the event an educator allows his or her certification to lapse. The statute does not dictate the manner in which SBEC renews applications or how SBEC determines the effective date of a late renewal application. The SBEC's rules regarding renewal and effective dates for late renewal applications do not impact a school district's ability to void an educator's contract in accordance with the TEC, §21.003, while an educator's certificate is inactive due to the educator's failure to renew timely. The SBEC maintained language as published as proposed.

The State Board of Education (SBOE) took no action on the review of the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §232.9 at the September 15, 2017, SBOE meeting.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is adopted under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.003(a), which states that a person may not be employed as a teacher, teacher intern or teacher trainee, librarian, educational aide, administrator, educational diagnostician, or school counselor by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit issued as provided by the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B; TEC, §21.0031(f), which clarifies and places certain limits on provisions authorizing termination of an educator's contract for failure to maintain a valid certificate; TEC, §21.031, which authorizes the SBEC to regulate and oversee all aspects of the certification, continuing education, and standards of conduct of public school educators; TEC, §21.041(b)(1), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the regulation of educators and the general administration of the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, in a manner consistent with the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B; TEC, §21.041(b)(2), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the classes of educator certificates to be issued, including emergency certificates; TEC, §21.041(b)(3), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the period for which each class of educator certificate is valid; TEC, §21.041(b)(4), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the requirements for the issuance and renewal of an educator certificate; TEC, §21.041(b)(9), which requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for continuing education requirements; and TEC, §21.054, which requires the SBEC to propose rules establishing a process for identifying continuing education courses and programs that fulfill educators' continuing education requirements.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The adopted amendment implements the Texas Education Code, §§21.003(a), 21.0031(f), 21.031, 21.041(b)(1)-(4) and (9), and 21.054.

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 September 27, 2017.

TRD-201703916

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

State Board for Educator Certification

Effective date: October 17, 2017

Proposal publication date: March 31, 2017

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