Teachers in Texas could face new certification requirement after board of education vote

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Posted at 3:42 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 18:55:32-04

After the State Board for Educator Certification voted to approve a new certification assessment, Texas is just one more vote away from requiring the "edTPA" assessment for future teachers.

After listening to teachers and education professionals on both sides of the issue, the board approved the edTPA requirement in an 8-to-1 decision on Friday. It's now headed to the State Board of Education, which is expected to make the final decision in June.

The Pearson-created assessment is currently in a pilot phase in Texas and is used by several other states.

Many opponents worry that adding more requirements for teachers will only worsen the state's teacher shortage.

"I've completed my eighth year in human resources and I can tell you that this year was the absolute hardest year of trying to recruit teachers that I have ever encountered," Brian Kroeger, executive director of human resources for Splendora ISD told the board on Friday.

Hundreds of educators and education organizations signed a letter back in March asking the certification board to vote against the requirement. One of those educators was Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, associate dean of undergraduate education at the Baylor School of Education.

"I signed the letter because I have concerns and I wanted members of the State Board for Educator Certification to step back and to really think about what might be an alternative to this," Nesmith said. She said she agrees that the current teacher certification process needs improvement but the performance-based assessment is not being introduced at the right time.

Advocates for edTPA argue it will improve teacher preparedness and will not impact current teacher shortages.

"Texans don't need to sacrifice its commitment to quality teacher preparation to address shortages that existed well before the pandemic," said Robert DeHaas, vice provost for the Dallas College School of Education.

If the state board of education gives the final go-ahead to the new requirement, it will fully go into effect for the 24-25 school year.