Law allows teachers to deviate from scope and sequence to ensure students grasp concepts
Your students are having a hard time grasping a key concept, but your administration has required teachers to follow a specific scope and sequence of instruction. You know that your class needs more time – what can you do?

Thanks to a new law passed this session (HB 4310), districts are now required to offer sufficient time for teachers to provide instruction in the TEKS, and can’t penalize a teacher for not following a recommended scope and sequence for a subject in the required curriculum based on the teacher’s determination that students need more or less time to demonstrate proficiency.

TCTA attorneys have talked to many members regarding the expectation that they will teach the same material on the same day in the same sequence using the same activities as other grade level or subject matter colleagues. Deviations from the plan would be reflected in the teacher’s appraisal.

Teachers argued that the directive denied them the opportunity to reteach parts of a current lesson or reteach something the students should have learned in a previous course, all to the detriment of the students.

Lawmakers agreed, and the bill passed with only a handful of “no” votes.

TCTA members with questions about the new law can contact the TCTA Legal Department at 888-879-8282.
TRS Board discusses controversial lease, elimination of 403(b) program

The TRS Board of Trustees met Thursday and Friday in Austin. Trustees were briefed on a number of issues of interest, including two that have received media attention recently.

Board members discussed the legislature's elimination of a 403(b) program registry. A recent  Dallas Morning News article  reported on this change, and suggested that teachers should consider using the current TRS list to conduct research and consider an option such as a low-cost Roth IRA if they want to invest in retirement beyond their TRS pensions. Board members also discussed a controversial plan to lease space in an Austin skyscraper that's under construction.

In other action, former TCTA state presidents Grace Mueller and Teresa Koehler were reappointed to a TRS advisory committee.

Ellis tapped as chair of State Board of Education
Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Dr. Keven Ellis, a chiropractor from Lufkin, to chair the State Board of Education. Ellis, who was elected in 2016, replaces Donna Bahorich of Houston, who served the maximum time allowed in the leadership role. The Texas Senate must confirm the appointment. Click here to read more.

Keller next commissioner of higher education
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Harrison Keller to serve as the next commissioner of higher education. Keller will assume his new post on Oct. 1. Click here to read more.
TRS, court deny woman's claim to death benefits

A woman filed suit against the Teacher Retirement System of Texas after it denied her request to be recognized as the beneficiary of her former husband’s death benefits. The district court held that she should not be recognized as the beneficiary and she appealed to the Third Court of Appeals. The woman had been designated by her husband in 1977 as the primary beneficiary of his death benefits payable by TRS. The couple divorced in 2008, but he had not designated a new primary beneficiary.

TCTA members can save at more than 9,000 hotels

TCTA members now have access to discounted room rates at more than 9,000 hotels owned by Wyndham, including more than 900 La Quinta properties. Book your room today at or call 800-407-9832. Use corporate booking code 1000037969 and reference Texas Classroom Teachers Association to start saving on your next hotel stay.
You can earn $25 for every two eligible first-time active members you recruit. Click here for Take 2/Make $25 program details.
UT-Rio Grande Valley to expand free tuition offer

Beginning next fall, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley will expand its free tuition program to include students with household incomes less than $75,000. Currently, the program applies to students with incomes less than $55,000. University officials expect the UTRGV Tuition Advantage program to alleviate tuition costs for more than half of undergraduate students.

  • Sept. 23 is the first day of fall.
  • Get NFL tickets and more with TicketsatWork, and save $10 on a $100 purchase through Sept. 30. Use code welcometen at checkout. To create an account, click here and sign up with company code SWTCTA.
  • Oct. 2 is International Walk to School Day.
  • SBEC meets Oct. 4 in Austin.
  • Oct. 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week.
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