USDE tells Texas to keep improving special ed
In an Oct. 19 letter, officials from the U.S. Department of Education dissected the Texas Education Agency's proposed plan for overhauling special education for students with disabilities. Officials approved some parts of TEA's plan, but also said Texas should do more to make sure school district officials understand how to comply with federal special education law. Federal officials also plan a monitoring visit early next year.

Districts can spend bilingual funds on teacher certification test fees, related travel, substitutes
After the Texas Education Agency announced in late September that it was accepting waiver requests from school districts that are unable to provide bilingual or English as a Second Language certified teachers for the required bilingual and ESL programs, it then published a document specifying that school districts applying for these waivers can use state bilingual allotment funds to reimburse teachers for certification test fees and travel to a testing center, as well as for substitute teacher pay to cover those staff absences. 

Schedule a local session and talk with TRS
If you would like to talk to Teacher Retirement System of Texas representatives about retirement or retiree health insurance (TRS-Care), check out these opportunities available across the state:

Active members can schedule a one-on-one retirement counseling session or attend a group presentation. Click here for details.

Those interested in TRS-Care have access to in-person and online events that will include opportunities to ask questions. There are separate sessions for Medicare and non-Medicare participants. Click here for more information.
TCTA member among finalists for national award
Six Texas teachers, including a TCTA member, have been named finalists for the 2018 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The awards recognize K-6 teachers whose innovative methods bring teaching to life in the classroom.

The Texas finalists in elementary science are: Brenda Williams, Argyle ISD, a TCTA member since 2017; Allison Bearden, Tomball ISD; and Celene Rosen, Plano ISD. The Texas finalists in elementary math are Ellaree Lehman, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD; Angelica Nino, San Antonio ISD; and Kirsta Paulus , Pasadena ISD.

Vote for education-friendly candidates on Nov. 6
Early voting ends Nov. 2 and Election Day is Nov. 6, with many key positions on the ballot, including Texas governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and races for U.S. Senate, Congress, and the Texas Legislature. Some areas also have State Board of Education seats, school board races and bond issues on the ballot.

If you haven't voted yet, check out TCTA's TexasTeachersVote.org for information about candidates in your area, including voting records for incumbents in the Texas Legislature.

Commissioner says district policy must allow grievance hearings before board of trustees
Two school district employees filed grievances with their district. The grievances were denied by administration and the employees appealed to the board of trustees. Instead of allowing them to present their grievances to the board, the district referred them to a committee, which was an option contained in the district’s policy. The employees filed an appeal to the commissioner of education, arguing that they were entitled to a grievance hearing before the full board. The commissioner agreed with the employees.

UT to automatically admit top 6% of 2020 grads
The University of Texas at Austin has determined that it will automatically admit all eligible summer/fall 2020 and spring 2021 freshman applicants who rank within the top 6 percent of their high school graduating classes, with remaining spaces to be filled through holistic review. 

  • Oct. 23-31 is National Red Ribbon Week.
  • Halloween is Oct. 31.
  • Nov. 2 is the deadline to file for TCTA statewide office and appear on the official ballot at the 2019 Convention. Click here for more information.
  • Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 4.
  • Nov. 11 is Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice to end World War I.
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