TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 112. TEXAS ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS FOR SCIENCE

SUBCHAPTER D. OTHER SCIENCE COURSES

19 TAC §112.71, §112.72

The State Board of Education (SBOE) proposes the repeal of §112.71 and §112.72, concerning Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for science. The proposed repeal would remove rules that are duplicative of other SBOE rules and are no longer necessary.

Principles of Technology, a career and technical education (CTE) course, has been identified by the SBOE as a course that may satisfy science graduation requirements. The TEKS for Principles of Technology are currently included in both 19 TAC Chapter 130, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career and Technical Education, and 19 TAC Chapter 112, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science. In 2015, the SBOE approved new CTE TEKS, which were implemented beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. New 19 TAC §130.404, Principles of Technology (One Credit), Adopted 2015, includes revisions to the original TEKS in §112.71, and the two courses are no longer aligned.

Rules in 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements, identify the courses that may satisfy specific graduation requirements. These rules currently identify 12 CTE courses that may satisfy science graduation requirements. As a result of recent changes to the graduation requirements, §112.72, Other Courses for Which Students May Receive Science Credit, is no longer aligned to the graduation requirements.

The proposed repeal would eliminate §112.71 and §112.72 to remove rules that are outdated and duplicative of other SBOE rules.

The SBOE approved the repeal for first reading and filing authorization at its September 15, 2017 meeting.

The proposed repeal would have no procedural and reporting requirements. The proposed repeal would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

FISCAL NOTE. Monica Martinez, associate commissioner for standards and support services, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed repeal is in effect there will be no additional costs to state and local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed repeal.

There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed repeal is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed repeal does not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Martinez has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed repeal is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the repeal will be eliminating language that is outdated and avoiding confusion for administrators and teachers. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed repeal.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, MICROBUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES. There is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez, Rulemaking, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rules@tea.texas.gov. A request for a public hearing on the proposed repeal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The repeal is proposed under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.102(c)(4), which requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to establish curriculum and graduation requirements; TEC, §28.002, which identifies the subjects of the required curriculum and requires the SBOE by rule to identify the essential knowledge and skills of each subject in the required curriculum that all students should be able to demonstrate and that will be used in evaluating instructional materials and addressed on the state assessment instruments; and TEC, §28.025, as amended by House Bill 3593 and Senate Bill 826, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which requires the SBOE by rule to determine the curriculum requirements for the foundation high school graduation program that are consistent with the required curriculum under the TEC, §28.002.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The repeal implements the Texas Education Code, §§7.102; 28.002; and 28.025, as amended by House Bill 3593 and Senate Bill 826, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

§112.71.Principles of Technology (One Physics Credit).

§112.72.Other Courses for Which Students May Receive Science Credit.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

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

TRD-201703804

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: November 5, 2017

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


CHAPTER 130. TEXAS ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS FOR CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

SUBCHAPTER C. ARTS, AUDIO/VIDEO TECHNOLOGY, AND COMMUNICATIONS

19 TAC §130.121

The State Board of Education (SBOE) proposes an amendment to §130.121, concerning Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for extended practicum in fashion design. The proposed amendment would change the amount of credit offered for the course to be consistent with other extended practicum courses.

In 2015, the SBOE adopted new career and technical education (CTE) TEKS, which were implemented beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The new TEKS eliminated the range of credit for CTE courses and implemented a consistent amount of credit for each course. Additionally, the new TEKS provide a number of one-credit extended practicum courses. During a review of the new CTE TEKS, staff discovered an error in the amount of credit identified for the Extended Practicum in Fashion Design course. As adopted, the course includes a range of two to three credits, which is not consistent with all other extended practicum courses.

The SBOE approved the amendment for first reading and filing authorization at its September 15, 2017 meeting.

The proposed amendment would have no procedural and reporting requirements. The proposed amendment would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

FISCAL NOTE. Monica Martinez, associate commissioner for standards and support services, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed amendment is in effect there will be no additional costs to state and local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendment.

There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed amendment is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed amendment does not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Martinez has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendment is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the amendment will be consistency in the amount of credit awarded for all extended practicum courses. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendment.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, MICROBUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES. There is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez, Rulemaking, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rules@tea.texas.gov. A request for a public hearing on the proposed amendment submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is proposed under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.102(c)(4), which requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to establish curriculum and graduation requirements; TEC, §28.002, which identifies the subjects of the required curriculum and requires the SBOE by rule to identify the essential knowledge and skills of each subject in the required curriculum that all students should be able to demonstrate and that will be used in evaluating instructional materials and addressed on the state assessment instruments; and TEC, §28.025, as amended by House Bill 3593 and Senate Bill 826, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which requires the SBOE by rule to determine the curriculum requirements for the foundation high school graduation program that are consistent with the required curriculum under the TEC, §28.002.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The amendment implements the Texas Education Code, §§7.102; 28.002; and 28.025, as amended by House Bill 3593 and Senate Bill 826, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

§130.121.Extended Practicum in Fashion Design (One Credit) [(Two to Three Credits)], Adopted 2015.

(a) General requirements. This course is for students in Grades 11 and 12. The practicum course is a paid or unpaid capstone experience for students participating in a coherent sequence of career and technical education courses in the Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Communications Career Cluster. Prerequisite: Fashion Design II and Fashion Design II Lab. Corequisite: Practicum in Fashion Design. This course must be taken concurrently with Practicum in Fashion Design and may not be taken as a stand-alone course. Students shall be awarded one credit for successful completion of this course. A student may repeat this course once for credit provided that the student is experiencing different aspects of the industry and demonstrating proficiency in additional and more advanced knowledge and skills.

(b) - (c) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

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

TRD-201703805

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: November 5, 2017

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


CHAPTER 157. HEARINGS AND APPEALS

SUBCHAPTER D. INDEPENDENT HEARING EXAMINERS

19 TAC §157.41

The State Board of Education (SBOE) proposes an amendment to §157.41, concerning certification criteria for independent hearing examiners. The proposed amendment would allow the commissioner of education to decline to recertify an independent hearing examiner even if a written complaint from an attorney has not been received, add a factor that the commissioner may consider in the decision whether to recertify, and specify that the commissioner can take action against an independent hearing examiner's certification for violating statutory requirements.

Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.252(a), requires the SBOE to establish certification criteria for independent hearing examiners. Section 157.41 specifies certification criteria such as license required, experience, continuing education, and annual recertification for independent hearing examiners. The examiners preside over due process hearings involving terminations, suspensions without pay, and nonrenewal of term employment contracts. The examiners also develop findings of fact and conclusions of law, which are referred to the school district board of trustees.

Currently, §157.41 specifies that the commissioner can decline to recertify an independent hearing examiner based on issues of the independent hearing examiner's quality of work only if a written complaint is received from an attorney. The proposed amendment would remove the requirement in subsection (k) that a written complaint from an attorney must be received and would specify that the commissioner, in the decision whether to recertify, may consider whether the examiner applies appropriate legal standards. Under the current rule, the commissioner is severely limited in the ability to remove independent hearing examiners due to poor-quality work. The proposed amendment would give the commissioner greater flexibility in removing low-performing independent hearing examiners, which should result in better hearings and recommendations and less need for appeals to the commissioner and the courts.

The proposed amendment would also add a new subsection (l) stating that the commissioner can take action against an independent hearing examiner's certification for violating statutory requirements. This clarification of the commissioner's authority would better inform independent hearing examiners, teachers, and school districts of the statutory standards and the potential consequences for violating those standards.

The SBOE approved the amendment for first reading and filing authorization at its September 15, 2017, meeting.

The proposed amendment would have no procedural and reporting requirements. The proposed amendment would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

FISCAL NOTE. Von Byer, general counsel, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed amendment is in effect, there will be positive economic impact for state and local government and individuals as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendment. By allowing the commissioner not to certify poorly performing independent hearing examiners, there will be fewer appeals of independent hearing examiner recommendations to the commissioner and the state courts of Texas. State government, including the TEA and the Office of the Attorney General, will see a cost savings of approximately $20,000 per year for each of the first five fiscal years the proposed rule is in effect by having fewer cases to defend in the courts of Texas. Similarly, school districts will see a cost savings of approximately $20,000 per year for each of the first five fiscal years the proposed rule is in effect by having fewer appeals of their teacher contract decisions to defend before the commissioner and the state courts of Texas.

Finally, it is likely that fewer teachers will appeal school district decisions to end their contracts if independent hearing examiners provide better recommendations. Therefore, it is estimated that teachers will see a cost savings of approximately $20,000 per year for each of the first five fiscal years the proposed rule is in effect. There will be no net economic effect on independent hearing examiners as a whole because for every independent hearing examiner who is not assigned a case because he or she is not certified, a certified independent hearing examiner will be assigned a case.

There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed amendment is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed amendment does not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Mr. Byer has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendment is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the amendment will be a higher quality of work by independent hearing examiners. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendment.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, MICROBUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES. There is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez, Rulemaking, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rules@tea.texas.gov. A request for a public hearing on the proposed amendment submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is proposed under the Texas Education Code, §21.252, which requires the State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, by rule to establish criteria for certifying independent hearing examiners who conduct hearings under the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter F.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The amendment implements the Texas Education Code, §21.252.

§157.41.Certification Criteria for Independent Hearing Examiners.

(a) License required. An individual who is certified as an independent hearing examiner must be licensed to practice law in the State of Texas.

(b) Representations prohibited. An independent hearing examiner, and the law firm with which the independent hearing examiner is associated, must not serve as an agent or representative of:

(1) a school district;

(2) a teacher in any dispute with a school district; or

(3) an organization of school employees, school administrators, or school boards.

(c) Moral character and criminal history. An independent hearing examiner must:

(1) possess good moral character; and

(2) as demonstrated by a criminal history report process required by the commissioner of education, not have been convicted, given probation (whether through deferred adjudication or otherwise), or fined for:

(A) a felony;

(B) a crime of moral turpitude; or

(C) a crime that directly relates to the duties of an independent hearing examiner in a public school setting.

(d) Status as a licensed attorney. An independent hearing examiner must:

(1) currently be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas;

(2) within the last five years, not have had the independent hearing examiner's bar license:

(A) reprimanded, either privately or publicly;

(B) suspended, either probated or otherwise; or

(C) revoked;

(3) have been licensed to practice law in the State of Texas or any other state for at least five years prior to application; and

(4) have engaged in the actual practice of law on a full-time basis, as defined by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, for at least five years.

(e) Experience. During the three years immediately preceding certification, an independent hearing examiner must have devoted a minimum of 50% of the examiner's time practicing law in some combination of the following areas, with a total of at least one-tenth or 10% of the independent hearing examiner's practice involving substantial responsibility for taking part in a contested evidentiary proceeding convened pursuant to law in which the independent hearing examiner personally propounded and/or defended against questions put to a witness under oath while serving as an advocate, a hearing officer, or a presiding judicial officer:

(1) civil litigation;

(2) administrative law;

(3) school law; or

(4) labor law.

(f) Continuing education. During each year of certification, an independent hearing examiner must receive credit for ten hours of continuing legal education, with three hours in the area of school law and seven hours in the area of civil trial advocacy and legal writing skills, which must include any combination of course work in evidence, civil procedure, and legal writing skills, during the period January 1 to December 31 of each year of certification.

(g) Sworn application. In order to be certified as an independent hearing examiner, an applicant must submit a sworn application to the commissioner of education. The application shall contain the following acknowledgments, waivers, and releases.

(1) The applicant agrees to authorize appropriate institutions to furnish relevant documents and information necessary in the investigation of the application, including information regarding grievances maintained by the State Bar of Texas.

(2) If selected as an independent hearing examiner, the applicant has the continuing duty to disclose grievance matters under subsection (d)(2) of this section at any time during the certification period. Failure to report these matters constitutes grounds for rejecting an application or removal as an independent hearing examiner.

(3) If selected as an independent hearing examiner, the applicant has the continuing duty to disclose criminal matters under subsection (d)(2) of this section at any time during the certification period. Failure to report these matters constitutes grounds for rejecting an application or removal as an independent hearing examiner.

(h) Assurances as to position requirements. In the sworn application, the applicant must:

(1) demonstrate that the applicant currently maintains an office or offices within the State of Texas;

(2) designate the office locations from which the applicant will accept appointments;

(3) demonstrate that the applicant provides telephone messaging and facsimile services during regular business hours;

(4) agree to attend meetings of independent hearing examiners in Austin, Texas, at the examiner's expense; and

(5) agree to comply with all reporting and procedural requirements established by the commissioner.

(i) Voluntary evaluations. The commissioner may solicit voluntary evaluations from parties to a case regarding their observations of the independent hearings process.

(j) Insufficient examiners in a region. In the event that insufficient numbers of independent hearing examiners are certified for any geographic region of the state, the commissioner may assign an independent hearing examiner whose office is within reasonable proximity to the school district.

(k) Annual recertification.

(1) Certification expires on December 31 of each calendar year. All independent hearing examiners seeking recertification shall reapply on a date specified by the commissioner. Certification as a hearing examiner is effective on a yearly basis only and does not confer any expectation of recertification in subsequent years.

(2) The [Upon written complaint by an attorney who has participated in a hearing and a response from the independent hearing examiner, the] commissioner, in his discretion, after providing notice and an opportunity to respond, may decline to recertify an independent hearing examiner, if the commissioner determines that the independent hearing examiner has failed to perform the duties of an independent hearing examiner in a competent manner. The commissioner may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:

(A) timeliness;

(B) accuracy and appropriateness of procedural and evidentiary rulings; [or]

(C) decorum or control; or[.]

(D) application of appropriate legal standards.

(3) The commissioner's decision in regard to recertification is final and not appealable.

(l) Action against certification. The commissioner, after providing notice and an opportunity to respond, may take action against the certificate of an independent hearing examiner if it is determined that the independent hearing examiner, during the time the independent hearing examiner has been certified, has:

(1) served as an agent or representative of a school district;

(2) served as an agent or representative of a teacher in any dispute with a school district;

(3) served as an agent or representative of an organization of school employees, school administrators, or school boards; or

(4) failed to timely issue a recommendation.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

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

TRD-201703803

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: November 5, 2017

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