During June 2022 SBOE meeting, ATPE testifies against problematic changes to teacher certification in Texas
Educator Preparation | Certification TEA | Commissioner | SBOE
Date Posted: 6/14/2022 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) joined more than two dozen public education organizations Tuesday, June 14, 2022, opposing a problematic change to teacher certification rules up for review by the State Board of Education (SBOE).
The elected SBOE reviews all rule changes adopted by the governor-appointed State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) before they take effect. SBOE members this week are considering changes approved by SBEC that would replace the state’s current Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam for teacher certification with edTPA. ATPE opposes the change and is asking the SBOE to veto the new SBEC rule.
Administered by Pearson and developed for national use as a formative educator preparation tool, edTPA includes a portfolio assessment component that proponents tout as beneficial to preparing teachers for entering the classroom. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has aggressively promoted the more expensive edTPA as a licensure exam – a use for which it was not originally intended.
As ATPE has pointed out to policymakers numerous times, 40% of Texas teachers enter the classroom on an intern certificate and are assigned as a teacher of record long before taking their pedagogy exam. Those teachers would not see the benefit of any training tool applied at the end of their certification process in the manner edTPA would be used.
SBOE members heard public testimony on the edTPA rule Tuesday. Witnesses highlighted dissatisfaction reported by participants in the Texas pilot of edTPA and the decision of multiple states to abandon edTPA shortly after adoption citing negative impacts on the teacher pipeline.
ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins testified that rather than replace the PPR with edTPA, the SBOE should veto the proposal with a recommendation that SBEC incorporate a portfolio assessment into the programmatic requirements of all Texas educator preparation programs (EPPs). In this way, the state could ensure candidates would benefit from a portfolio assessment before becoming a teacher of record in charge of an entire classroom. ATPE joined 27 other education organizations that signed a letter highlighting concerns with edTPA and recommending this approach.
Several board members expressed concern over the potential negative impact the move to edTPA could have on the teacher pipeline and skepticism over the idea of using a portfolio assessment as a high-stakes exam at the conclusion of the certification process. In response to claims that edTPA is needed to improve the quality of EPPs, SBOE members questioned what SBEC is doing to enforce bad actors. Wiggins noted in testimony that it is unclear how changes to a certification exam would address issues with enforcement.
The SBOE is meeting Tuesday through Friday for what is expected to be a very busy week. Members will review applications for new charter school chains on Wednesday and will hold formal votes on charter applicants and edTPA on Friday. Stay tuned to our Teach the Vote advocacy blog and follow @TeachtheVote on Twitter for the latest updates.
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