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House Public Education Committee, July 26, 2022

House panel discusses hiring shortage, educator prep in marathon hearings

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

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Date Posted: 7/27/2022 | Author: Mark Wiggins

The Texas House Committee on Public Education met Monday and Tuesday, July 25-26, 2022, to discuss a range of issues from the teacher hiring shortage to changes in educator preparation. Chairman Harold Dutton (D-Houston) abruptly adjourned the committee’s last meeting on May 24 as members received news of the school shooting in Uvalde. The committee met Monday to resume the previous discussion, which touched on elements contributing to the teacher shortage.

As we shared in this blog post, ATPE Lobbyist Andrea Chevalier gave invited testimony as part of the committee’s charge to monitor recent legislation, including 2019’s House Bill (HB) 3. Chevalier shared the results of multiple ATPE member surveys, including the most recent one on teacher attrition, drawing particular attention to the burdens placed on educators by HB 3’s Reading Academies requirement.

The committee also received feedback on the difficulties of complying with accelerated instructional requirements under last session’s HB 4545, for which many educators report being uncompensated. Other topics on Monday’s agenda included learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and chronic absenteeism.

Tuesday’s hearing began with an update from State Board of Education (SBOE) Chairman Keven Ellis (R-Lufkin) on the board’s unanimous decision to veto a decision by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to adopt edTPA as a teacher certification exam. SBEC sought to replace the current Texas-created Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam with the nationally developed edTPA, administered by educational testing company Pearson.

SBOE Member Tom MaynardDr. Ellis and SBOE Member Tom Maynard (R-Florence) defended their board’s veto, noting the criticisms raised by numerous stakeholders including ATPE and emphasizing efforts currently underway to find a more thoughtful way to improve the rigor and accountability of educator preparation programs (EPPs). Ellis noted that the board intends to schedule a joint meeting with SBEC in September for the purpose of further discussing edTPA.

The committee’s Tuesday agenda topics included collaboration between K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to address workforce needs, as well as discussions concerning curriculum and instructional materials and parent empowerment.

On the topic of parent empowerment, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath presented an exhaustive list of the various methods through which parents have the power to access curriculum, review instructional materials, and pursue grievances in the public school system. These rights are guaranteed by law in the public school system, with the exception of charter schools. Private schools are not part of the public school system and are also exempt from laws guaranteeing parental rights.

Rep. James TalaricoThe committee heard at length from invited witnesses representing charter schools and promoting private school vouchers, both of which ironically require parents and students to surrender the rights they are guaranteed under the public school system. Committee Member James Talarico (D-Round Rock) pointed out the tension between administrative agility and lack of voters' ability to exert public control over charter schools and raised a question about how insulated from democracy certain schools should be.

Committee members and panelists on both days raised concerns over the current political rhetoric and negativity aimed at educators. As ATPE has previously pointed out, this rhetoric is often cited among the reasons educators have decided to leave the profession.

The committee will continue to meet to discuss interim charges assigned by the House speaker. A final committee report containing findings and recommendations for the 2023 legislative session is due by the end of the year.



Ronnie Hinkle

With the issues being addressed related to hiring shortages/ retirement of seasoned teachers, is there a way that those retirees, who want to help fill this void, not be overlooked because of the “penalty” school districts must pay to bring retirees back. While the intent of HB1585 (TRS Sunset Bill, TRS Newsletter August 2021) may have been to help with these shortages, the burden of this (penalty) switched the responsibility for this from the retirees to the districts. School districts may be reluctant to consider full time and turn to hiring retirees part time so they are not having to pay this “penalty”. While large districts may not see this as a deal breaker, smaller districts are already struggling financially. This hinders their attempt to bring seasoned teachers (who have retired) back. Eliminate the “penalty” and , quite possibly, more and more teachers who retired (for whatever reason) would want to come back and be considered by districts to help with this shortage.

Perry Daniell

When are teachers, some of the most educated and dedicated PROFESSIONALS in the country, going to get the recognition and status that their job should garner? This should be a wake up call to legislators and citizens of Texas. How many of the legislators could pass the 8th grade STAAR tests, I wonder?

Deann H Lee

It''s already getting VERY interesting! THANK YOU for your testimony and coverage.

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