General Frequently Asked Questions
The following information contains answers to questions about general school and education issues.
This information can be found in the Texas Education Code, however it is summarized in the Administrator's Letter.
Educators must adhere to the Educator's Code of Ethics, which can be found in Title 19, Chapter 247 of the Texas Administrative Code. The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is responsible for enforcing the ethics code. If you believe an educator has violated the Code of Ethics, a report can be made to SBEC through their complaint process.
No, the Texas Legislature changes the Texas Education Code. The Texas Education Agency implements the code as directed by the Legislature. However, state law does give the commissioner the ability to waive a few specific statutory requirements.
Amendments to the McKinney Act in the No Child Left Behind bill require a district to transport a student to the "school of origin" attended before the student became homeless (42 USC 11432(g)(1)(J)). There are other provisions that allow a change of campus assignment (42 USC 11432(g)(3)), though they are very deferential to the parent's preferences. These are requirements of accepting federal funds; it does not matter that the transportation crosses district or county lines (there are no state laws that prohibit either). McKinney questions can be addressed to the agency at 512-463-9357; transportation questions at 512-463-9237.
More information on homeless education in Texas is available at the Texas Homeless Education Office at the University of Texas at Austin.
A child is not required to attend school unless he or she is at least six years old on September 1 of the school year. Enrollment in kindergarten is not required. However, if a child is enrolled in Kindergarten, regular attendance is required. If the child has too many unexcused absences while enrolled, compulsory attendance charges may be filed. A parent who enrolls a child in Kindergarten may choose to withdraw the child at any time during the school year.
State law recognizes the right of individual students to pray in a nondisruptive manner (Section 25.901, Texas Education Code). A school district may provide for a period of silence at the beginning of the school day (Section 25.082, Texas Education Code). There are constitutional restrictions on the ability of school districts to actively participate in activities that amount to religious observances.
TEC Section 26.003(a) (2) is an entitlement to access to the administrator for the purpose of making a request. It is not an entitlement to unilaterally move the parent's child. It is just to talk to the right person. Note that the section recognizes that need to balance the effects of an assignment on other students. School districts can consider the overall makeup of classes when assigning each student.
TEC Section 26.003(a) (3) is more strongly worded, requiring that a district's action denying those requests must be "reasonable." That is still a deferential legal standard, which generally means a district's action will be upheld if the decision was based on a logical reason.
There is no express right to visit a school, though most, of course, welcome parents. Depending on the security concerns appropriate to the school, most will require a sign-in or sometimes advance notice. Many will not allow visitors during testing or some other particularly busy period. This will all be governed by your district's policies about parents visiting, which you should be able to get at the school district's or school's administration office. A complaint about that policy or about an administrator should be taken through the local grievance process (to the principal, then the superintendent, then the school board), which is also a policy you should be able to obtain from the school district's or school's administration office.
Texas school districts must provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction (Section 25.081, Texas Education Code). However, some districts have a waiver from the Commissioner of Education allowing them to substitute a few of those days for teacher professional development days.
To receive credit for a class, a student is required to attend school for at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered (Section 25.092, Texas Education Code). Students with excessive absences may restore credit as provided by local policy.
No, Section 25.087 provides that a student's absence may be excused for "any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal or superintendent." Texas Education Code Section 25.091 provides that a complaint or referral for failure to attend school is to be filed after a student has a certain number of absences "without excuse."