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Summer 2000 Table of Contents
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Information about Possible Changes in Texas Teacher Certification Requirements

Compiled by the Alliance of and for Visually Impaired Texans (AVIT)

Background

In 1995, the Texas Legislature transferred from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to the newly created State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) all responsibilities related to establishing the requirements for teacher certification of Texas public school teachers. SBEC is currently reevaluating and changing the requirements for a number of Texas teaching certifications.

Teacher Certifications for Teachers in Regular Education

At this point, SBEC has approved three levels of teacher certification for regular educators:

SBEC Proposals Related to Students with Visual Impairments

SBEC has made the following three proposals related to certification requirements for teachers of students with visual impairments:

Certification Requirements for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments

Endorsement Currently Required.

Currently, teachers of students with visual impairments must have a teaching certificate plus an endorsement related to teaching these students. To obtain the endorsement, a teacher must pass coursework related to Braille, adaptations for low vision, anatomy, methods for teaching students with visual and multiple disabilities, and other specialized training in the areas unique to students with visual impairments.

Recommendation Will Eliminate Requirement for VI Endorsement.

In the fall, SBEC will recommend eliminating the endorsement for teachers of students with visual impairments thus eliminating the current requirement for these teachers to pass coursework related to Braille, adaptations for low vision, anatomy, methods for teaching students with visual and multiple disabilities, and other specialized training in the areas unique to students with visual impairments. SBEC will recommend one certificate for all teachers of students in special education, including students with visual impairments, and, as stated above, will not recommend an endorsement for teachers of students with visual impairments or any other special population.

Special Education Certificates and Undergraduate Education

To support the new teaching certificates for regular educators, SBEC has increased requirements for each certification. For example, additional emphasis will be placed on reading for all three types of certifications. As a result of the increased coursework required for regular certification, including special education training as part of required undergraduate preparation might no longer be feasible. Special education training may be taken at the graduate level only. In Texas, we currently have one university offering an undergraduate program that includes specific training in the field of visual impairments—Stephen F Austin in Nacogdoches̬and another is being proposed by Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Changes in Requirements for Obtaining Emergency Certification

An emergency certificate is a teaching certificate that allows a teacher to teach in a particular area while the teacher completes particular requirements for a standard teaching certificate.

Initially, SBEC proposed eliminating the specialized emergency certification and replacing it with a 3-year certificate that would allow a teacher to teach in all teaching fields. The proposed requirements for the emergency certification included 1) a college degree of any type; and 2) the lack of a criminal history. Under this proposal, each school district would be required to develop training to support all emergency-certified teachers.

A newer proposal recommends:

Providing Input to the State Board of Educator Certification

Organizations and persons, including parents of children with visual impairments, may provide SBEC with information about teacher certifications in the following ways:

1. SBEC Website.

Persons and organizations may provide SBEC information about teacher certification requirements through its website (although the site is not uniformly accessible to blind consumers): http://www.sbec.state.tx.us

2. SBEC Toll Free Number.

SBEC has the following toll free number for requesting and providing information related to teacher certification: 1-888-863-5880.

3. SBEC Information Contact.

SBEC employee Lennie Edwards may be contacted by email to request or provide information at the following email address: ledwards@mail.sbec.state.tx.us

4. Attending SBEC Board Meetings.

SBEC will have meetings on November 3, 2000. Information on the Board's agenda is available at: http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/geninfo/board_meet_agenda.htm

5. Correspondence by Mail.

Letters may be sent by mail to SBEC board members at the following address: State Board for Educator Certification, 1001 Trinity, Austin, Tx 78701 - 2603. Letters may be faxed to the following number: (512) 469-3002.

SBEC Board Members include:

  1. James D. Harris, Chair Lubbock
  2. Ed Patton, Vice Chair Abilene
  3. Cynthia Tassos Phillips Austin
  4. Mary E. Resendez San Antonio
  5. Antonio (Tony) Sanchez Mission
  6. Mary Margaret Rucker Nassau Bay
  7. Annette T. Griffin, Ph.D., Carrollton
  8. Keith Sockwell Northwest ISD
  9. Carmel Borders Austin
  10. Arthur Lacy McKinney
  11. James B. Price Cooper
  12. Xavier Rodriguez San Antonio
  13. Kenneth R. Craycraft, Ph.D. Huntsville
  14. Arturo Almendarez, Ph.D. Texas
  15. Education Agency
  16. William Sanford, Ph.D. Higher
  17. Education Coordinating Board

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Last Revision: September 4, 2003