TCTA-initiated bill reduces teacher contract days
Your district took advantage of the “days-to-minutes” switch to implement longer school days and cut the number of instructional days. So why do you still have to work 187 contract days?

You don’t at least not under state law. A TCTA-initiated bill passed this year to ensure that if your district reduces its number of instructional days, it now has the ability to decrease your required workdays proportionately, with no reduction in salary.

This new law takes on additional significance as a handful of districts have begun moving to a four-day instructional week. Four-day districts handle the “off” day in different ways. Some still require teachers to work on that day, but SB 2073 now provides flexibility in determining teacher schedules.

If your district has reduced its instructional days but still requires teachers to work 187 days, make sure your administration is aware of SB 2073. Depending on the specific terms of your contract, it’s possible that a change could be made in time to affect the number of non-instructional days for the current school year. TCTA members can call the TCTA legal department at 888-879-8282 with any questions. 
Many districts improve in accountability ratings

Th e Texas Education Agency released its 2019 A-F state accountability ratings last week, and hundreds of public school districts and charter schools improved their overall ratings from 2018 . Only six districts and eight charter schools received Fs this year. Campuses were given individual A-F ratings for the first time in 2019, with most receiving As and Bs. Full report cards are available on TEA's website.

Three districts — Houston, Snyder and Shepherd ISDs — all have at least one school that failed state ratings for five or more years in a row, potentially subjecting the districts to state penalties, including possible takeover by TEA. 

Districts have until mid-September to appeal their ratings, and final decisions will be out by the end of the year.

Teachers file grievance over lesson plan policy

A group of teachers filed a grievance regarding a lesson plan template required by their district. The teachers alleged that the lesson plans violated the Paperwork Reduction Act, which states that a school district must limit redundant requests for information and that lesson plans must consist of a unit or weekly plan that outlines, in a brief and general manner, the information to be presented. 

The school district denied the grievance and the teachers appealed to the commissioner of education, who upheld the district's decision.

TEA announces upcoming changes to writing tests

Recent legislation (HB 3906) eliminated the stand-alone STAAR writing assessments in grades 4 and 7 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. But educators will begin to see some changes this year as TEA transitions to its new Reading Language Arts assessment.

New writing items that assess revising and editing will be field tested in the reading assessments for grades 3-8 beginning this year. These items will be embedded in the assessments and will have no accountability measure. Additionally, TEA will provide examples of writing items for grades 3, 5, 6 and 8 to help educators prepare students for the new item types.

Interim assessments allow students to practice tests

Each year, TEA makes interim assessments available online to help districts and teachers gauge student performance before the official STAAR testing window opens in the spring. Tests are available in English and Spanish for math, reading language arts, science and social studies.

TEA enhances its assessment program

TEA has made several updates to its assessment program, many of them based on feedback from educators across the state. Changes include an online application for educators to volunteer to participate in the test development process, and more training and resources.

Website offers special education resources

SPEDTex, a TEA-funded project run through the Region 10 Education Service Center, provides special education information to parents and the public. Information is available online and people can ask questions through a live chat function or by phone. The website includes links to upcoming events, training workshops, news and more. Click here to explore
Renew your membership by Sept. 30 to ensure continuous coverage during the 2019-20 school year. Click here to renew online. (Log in with your email address as your username and member number as your password.)

If you have already renewed, thank you! We look forward to serving you this year and throughout your teaching career.

You can earn $25 for every two eligible first-time active members you recruit. Click here for Take 2/Make $25 program details.
  • Aug. 23 is the deadline to enroll in TRS-Active Care.
  • Aug. 26 is Women's Independence Day.
  • Aug. 27 is Lyndon Baines Johnson Day.
  • Sept. 2 is Labor Day (TCTA Headquarters will be closed).
  • The State Board of Education meets Sept. 10-13 in Austin.
  • TicketsatWork is giving TCTA members a chance to save $10 on a $100 purchase through Sept. 30. Use code welcometen at checkout. To create a TicketsatWork account, click here and sign up with company code SWTCTA. Save 20-70% at participating theme parks, hotels, movie theaters and more.
PO BOX 1489 AUSTIN, TX 78767 | 888-879-8282 | TCTA.ORG