November 2023 Committee on Instruction Item 1

Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs
(Second Reading and Final Adoption)

November 17, 2023

COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY: This item presents for second reading and final adoption a proposed amendment to 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs. The proposed amendment would update innovative course application and approval requirements. Changes are recommended since approved for first reading.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.002(f).

TEC, §28.002(f), authorizes local school districts to offer courses in addition to those in the required curriculum for local credit and requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to be flexible in approving a course for credit for high school graduation.

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

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed amendment is 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register. Under TEC, §7.102(f), the SBOE must approve the rule action at second reading and final adoption by a vote of two-thirds of its members to specify an effective date earlier than the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year. The earlier effective date would update the requirements for the submission of innovative course applications for the 2023-2024 application cycle.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The SBOE adopted §74.27 effective September 1, 1996, with amendments effective September 1, 1998, September 1, 2001, December 25, 2007, and December 25, 2019. The SBOE last adopted amendments in November 2022 effective February 26, 2023. A discussion item on §74.27 was presented to the Committee on Instruction at the June 2023 SBOE meeting. At the August-September SBOE meeting, the board approved for first reading and filing authorization the proposed amendment to §74.27.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: After the SBOE adopted new rules concerning graduation requirements, the previously approved experimental courses were phased out as of August 31, 1998. Following the adoption of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), school districts now submit requests for innovative course approval for courses that do not have TEKS. The process currently outlined in §74.27 provides authority for the commissioner of education to approve discipline-based courses but reserves for SBOE review and approval those courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum.

Each year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides the opportunity for school districts and other entities to submit applications for proposed innovative courses. The board last amended §74.27 in November 2022 to require that an applicant for an innovative course pilot the proposed course in a Texas school prior to seeking approval from the SBOE. At the April 2023 SBOE meeting, TEA staff provided an overview of the innovative course approval process, including key data related to historical implementation of innovative courses. At the June 2023 meeting, the Committee on Instruction discussed possible amendments to §74.27. The board approved for first reading and filing authorization the proposed amendment to §74.27 at its August-September 2023 meeting.

The attachment to this item reflects the text of the proposed amendment to §74.27 for consideration by the SBOE. The proposed amendment would shift from the commissioner of education to the SBOE the authority to approve innovative courses that fall under the foundation or enrichment curriculum, specify the number of years for initial approval and renewal of innovative courses, and exempt career and technical education courses that support an approved program of study from the pilot requirement. It would also require TEA to conduct a periodic review of all approved innovative courses and identify courses for possible sunset in accordance with specific criteria, including student enrollment at an average of fewer than 20 districts or charter schools statewide.

FISCAL IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed.

TEA has determined that there are no additional costs to state or local government, including school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, required to comply with the proposal.

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, §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 Texas Government Code, §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 Texas Government Code, §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 Texas Government Code, §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed.

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 expand an existing regulation by modifying the requirements for state approval of innovative courses and shifting from the commissioner of education to the SBOE the authority to approve innovative courses that fall under the foundation or enrichment curriculum.

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 limit 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 proposal would provide districts and entities that submit applications for innovative courses clearer guidance regarding expectations for innovative courses. There is no anticipated economic 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 or reporting impact.

PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed.

TEA 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: Following the August-September 2023 SBOE meeting, notice of the proposed amendment was filed with the Texas Register, initiating the public comment period. The public comment period began October 13, 2023, and ended at 5:00 p.m. on November 13, 2023. No comments had been received at the time this item was prepared. A summary of public comments received will be provided to the SBOE during the November 2023 meeting. The SBOE will take registered oral and written comments on the proposal at the appropriate committee meeting in November 2023 in accordance with the SBOE board operating policies and procedures.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Approve for second reading and final adoption the proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs; and

Make an affirmative finding that immediate adoption of the proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs is necessary and shall have an effective date of 20 days after filing with the Texas Register. (Per TEC, §7.102(f), a vote of two-thirds of the members of the board is necessary for an earlier effective date.)

Staff Members Responsible:
Monica Martinez, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Programs
Shelly Ramos, Senior Director, Curriculum Standards and Student Support

Attachment:
Text of Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs