January 2022 Committee on School Initiatives Item 6

Review of Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 230, Professional Educator Preparation and Certification, Subchapter B, General Certification Requirements, §230.11, General Requirements

January 28, 2022

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY: This item provides the State Board of Education (SBOE) an opportunity to review the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rule actions that would propose an amendment to 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 230, Professional Educator Preparation and Certification, Subchapter B, General Certification Requirements, §230.11, General Requirements. The proposed amendment would update the list of countries that permit individuals who have obtained the equivalent of a United States bachelor's or master's degree to be exempt from the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) to demonstrate English language proficiency; would clarify that individuals who have already demonstrated English language proficiency to receive an SBEC-issued Texas certificate would not have to demonstrate English language proficiency again for purposes of admission into an educator preparation program (EPP) to obtain an additional Texas educator certificate; and would provide technical and grammatical edits.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: The statutory authority for 19 TAC Chapter 230, Subchapter B, §230.11, is the Texas Education Code (TEC), §§21.003(a); 21.031; and 21.041(b)(1), (4), and (5).

TEC, §21.003(a), states that a person may not be employed as a teacher, teacher intern or teacher trainee, librarian, educational aide, administrator, educational diagnostician, or school counselor by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit issued as provided by the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

TEC, §21.031, authorizes the SBEC to regulate and oversee all aspects of the certification, continuing education, and standards of conduct of public school educators.

TEC, §21.041(b)(1), requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the regulation of educators and the general administration of the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, in a manner consistent with the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

TEC, §21.041(b)(4), requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the requirements for the issuance and renewal of an educator certificate.

TEC, §21.041(b)(5), requires the SBEC to propose rules that specify the requirements for the issuance of an educator certificate to a person who holds a similar certificate issued by another state or foreign country, subject to TEC, §21.052.

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: None.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: At the August 2017 SBEC meeting, the SBEC adopted changes to 19 TAC Chapter 230 to remove the provision that required candidates to demonstrate English language proficiency by providing evidence that the primary language of instruction at an institution of higher education that the candidate attended outside of the United States was English. The SBEC adopted a list of countries in which English is the official language and allowed candidates from these countries to be exempt from the requirement to take the TOEFL iBT. The SBEC derived its list of English-speaking countries from the lists the colleges and universities of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems use to determine exemptions from English language proficiency requirements for student admissions.

At the July 2021 SBEC meeting, the SBEC directed Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff to draft amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 230 to update the list of qualifying countries to include any new additions to the lists used by the colleges and universities of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems.

Following is a description of the proposed amendment that would add the additional countries to the approved list as outlined in Attachment II.

§230.11. General Provisions.

The proposed amendment would update Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C) to add, "Federated States of Micronesia," "India," "Ireland," "New Zealand," and "Singapore" to the list of qualifying countries where English is the primary or predominant language. These are countries that the colleges and universities of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems have identified as English-speaking for the purposes of determining exemptions to English language proficiency requirements. This proposed amendment would permit individuals who have obtained the equivalent of a United States bachelor's or master's degree from colleges or universities in the Federated States of Micronesia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and Singapore to be exempt from the English language proficiency requirement for educator certification. The proposed amendment to Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C) would also provide grammatical and technical edits to the list of countries to properly place "Canada" and the "Cayman Islands" alphabetically and to add "Islands" to Turks and Caicos.

Proposed new 19 TAC §230.11(c) would clarify that individuals who have previously demonstrated English language proficiency to receive an SBEC-issued certificate would not be required to demonstrate English language proficiency again if they seek admission into an approved Texas EPP at a later time to pursue an additional area of certification. This would prevent redundant, inefficient, and unnecessary paperwork for both educators and TEA staff.

SBOE Review of Proposed SBEC Rules

Under the TEC, §21.042, the SBEC must submit a written copy of each rule it proposes to adopt to the SBOE for review.  The SBOE may reject the proposed rule by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the SBOE present and voting but may not modify a rule.

FISCAL IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The TEA staff has determined that there is no additional fiscal impact on state or local governments and there are no additional costs to entities required to comply with the proposal. The state and entities deemed as local government do not pay for or receive any funds from administration of the English language proficiency examination requirement (i.e., TOEFL iBT) in rule for issuance of Texas certification.

The TEA staff has determined, however, that the proposal would create an anticipated economic benefit for individuals. The TEA estimates that the proposal will cause a cost savings of $2,350 per fiscal year for each of the next five fiscal years (FYs), FYs 2022-2027, for individuals who will not be required to take the TOEFL iBT test to demonstrate English language proficiency. TOEFL iBT test fees vary in cost, but TEA staff is using $235 (the fee to test in several Texas cities as that is often the location where these candidates for certification will test) to calculate the anticipated savings to individuals. TEA staff estimates that approximately five individuals per year will apply from the five new countries that the proposal would add to the SBEC-approved list of English-speaking countries, and that when multiplied by the $235 test fee, the result is a cost savings of $1,175 per fiscal year. Additionally, TEA staff anticipates a minimum of five individuals who have already demonstrated English language proficiency would return to a Texas-approved EPP to seek an additional certification per fiscal year. For these five returning candidates, the cost savings would be $1,175 per fiscal year when multiplied by the $235 test fee. In total, the estimated cost savings per fiscal year would be $2,350.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal has no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code (TGC), §2001.022.

SMALL BUSINESS, MICROBUSINESS, AND RURAL COMMUNITY IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal has no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in TGC, §2006.002, is required.

COST INCREASE TO REGULATED PERSONS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal does not impose a cost on regulated persons, another state agency, a special district, or a local government and, therefore, is not subject to TGC, §2001.0045.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal does not impose a burden on private real property and, therefore, does not constitute a taking under TGC, §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The TEA staff prepared a Government Growth Impact Statement assessment for this proposed rulemaking. During the first five years the proposed rulemaking would be in effect, it would limit an existing regulation by adding countries to the list that individuals from those countries would no longer be required to take and pass an English language proficiency examination for Texas certification and by allowing individuals who have previously proven their English proficiency to attain a Texas certification to be exempt from having to prove it again when they seek another Texas certification.

The proposed rulemaking would not create or eliminate a government program; would not require the creation of new employee positions or elimination of existing employee positions; would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; would not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; would not create a new regulation; would not expand or repeal an existing regulation; would not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to its applicability; and would not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The public benefit anticipated as a result of the proposal would be ensuring that educator certification applicants demonstrate the level of English language proficiency needed to instruct and to support all learners and to communicate effectively with parents, colleagues, and other stakeholders upon certification, while avoiding unnecessarily burdensome testing and paperwork for applicants who are from English-speaking countries or have already proven their English proficiency to attain a prior Texas educator certificate. There is no anticipated cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposal.

DATA AND REPORTING IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal would have no new data and reporting impact.

PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The TEA staff has determined that the proposal would not require a written report or other paperwork to be completed by a principal or classroom teacher.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: In accordance with the SBEC rulemaking process, a summary of comments received by the SBEC on its proposed rules is shared with the SBOE under separate cover prior to this SBOE meeting.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Take no action on the proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 230, Professional Educator Preparation and Certification, Subchapter B, General Certification Requirements, §230.11, General Requirements.

Staff Members Responsible:
Emily Garcia, Associate Commissioner, Educator Preparation, Certification, and Enforcement
Marilyn Cook, Director, Educator Certification

Attachment I:
Text of Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 19 TAC Chapter 230, Professional Educator Preparation and Certification, Subchapter B, General Certification Requirements, §230.11, General Requirements

Attachment II:
Text of Proposed Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C)