Region 20 Director Sandra de Leon, a curriculum specialist in Northside (20) ISD, was approved Aug. 12, 2011, for service on the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) Educator Certification and Standard Committee. The committee’s charge is to discuss issues concerning educator preparation programs.
Since August, de Leon and the other members of the committee have had the responsibility of reviewing documents before they are presented to SBEC by Texas Education Agency (TEA) Director of Educator Certification & Standards Dr. Janice Lopez. At a Nov. 17 meeting, the committee worked on the reorganization of the following Texas Administrative Code (TAC) chapters:
- Chapter 230, professional educator preparation and certification definitions.
- Chapter 232, general certification provisions.
- Chapter 233, categories of classroom teaching certificates.
The TAC is a list of all state agency rules in Texas. De Leon and the committee have also reviewed:
- Chapter 227, provisions for educator preparation candidates.
- Chapter 228, requirements for educator preparation programs.
- Chapter 229, accountability systems for educator preparation programs.
- Chapter 231, assignments of public school personnel.
"I am the only teacher serving on this committee," de Leon says. "This came about after SBEC charged the committee to have an educator serving on the advisory committee so that educators, too, can have a voice." Other members of the committee have appreciated the addition of a teacher’s perspective, saying: "Yes, let’s hear from the ones in the trenches … the teachers," and "It's refreshing to have you and your ideas with us."
"During my time on the committee, I have had the pleasure of meeting dynamic people from across the state—administrators, attorneys, field supervisors, directors and university personnel," de Leon says. "Just as I am representing my district [Northside (20) ISD], educators in Texas and ATPE, other people represent their university educator programs, non-traditional educator prep programs, human resources departments and administrator associations."
"We all share the goal of improving our educator preparation programs so that we can have quality educators teaching the children of Texas," de Leon says.
TEA also requested the committee’s participation in a standard-setting committee meeting Dec. 14–16. During the meeting, committee members discussed the Principal and Field Supervision surveys, which will be used to meet the accountability requirements of Senate Bill (SB) 174, which was passed by the 81st Texas Legislature (and turned into TAC Chapter 229).
The Principal Survey serves two purposes. It:
- Measures the performance of beginning teachers, and
- Measures the program’s effectiveness in preparing program participants to succeed in the classroom.
The Field Supervision Survey measures the quality of field supervision provided to participants of educator preparation programs.
During the December meeting, TEA collaborated with the Texas Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality to review the data from a 2011 survey sent to principals throughout the state and distributed to candidates exiting from educator preparation programs. The committee discussed assigning category weights to Texas educator preparation programs and creating accountability standards for them.
"This experience has truly been fantastic," de Leon says. "It has given me another viewpoint of the bigger picture as I work at this level with TEA and SBEC. I also believe that I am fortunate to represent the educators of Texas. It is a change for many of the committee members to see a teacher providing input at this level."
"Acknowledgments to SBEC for holding up the educator’s voice as something valuable and to TEA for following through with the charge," de Leon says. "It might be scary to see what is happening to Texas’ public education as far as politics goes; nevertheless, having this opportunity gives me hope that educators continue to be valued and that the process can be changed to center on what is best for the kids of Texas."
Questions? Contact ATPE Governmental Relations.