Many school districts in East Texas closed this week as Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday, causing extensive damage and leaving thousands without power along the Texas-Louisiana border. Our thoughts are with members and their friends and families in the region.
Educators required to report COVID-19 cases
School administrators and some other school employees, including teachers and counselors, have a duty to make a report if they suspect that a student or a staff member may have COVID-19. Failing to report may constitute a crime and could potentially lead to an investigation by the State Board for Educator Certification and sanctions against an educator’s credentials. Click here to read more.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath gave superintendents an update on district reporting requirements as TEA works with the Texas Department of State Health Services to make public information about confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools. Each superintendent will receive a unique code to enter with a weekly report noting all positive COVID-19 cases in the district.

TEA has published a guide for families titled “Education Rights & Responsibilities During COVID-19." The flyer informs parents of the actions that schools should be taking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread on campuses. It includes language on the second page that may be of interest to teachers: “Complaints can be filed with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), but, in most cases, parents must first attempt to resolve any problems they have by working with the school and/or district before TEA will review a complaint.” This is important information for teachers who have concerns, and if you are hearing from worried parents you may wish to direct them to this flyer as well. 

TCTA revamps COVID-19 FAQs for 2020-21

As part of our revamp of our COVID-19 FAQ on 2020-21 Education Issues, this week we:

While this information is not legal advice, we hope it helps as you start the new year. Members who have concerns or questions should call the Legal Department at 888-879-8282 to speak with a staff attorney.
TEA launches formative assessment resource

TEA recently announced the availability of a free, optional, online formative assessment resource tool consisting of a TEKS-aligned item bank, test-builder and data reports. All STAAR-tested grades and subjects will have items available. The tool is designed to support teachers in gaining real-time, formative feedback on student learning. Teachers will be able to create and deliver quizzes and analyze results to help inform instructional choices, such as making immediate lesson plan adjustments or providing specific interventions for students at the level of individual standards. TFAR can be used as part of on-campus or virtual instruction. Click here to read more.
Student files discrimination suit over school's hair-length policy

A student filed a lawsuit against his school district, alleging that its policy regarding hair-length was racially discriminatory. The student is Black and wears his hair in "locs" (sometimes referred to as "dreadlocks"). When the student began his freshman year, he was allowed to tie his locs up and back to comply with the dress code. Midway through his sophomore year, the district changed its policy and the student could no longer comply with the dress code by tying his locs up. He declined to cut them and was placed in ISS. Click here to read more.
State releases guidance on 2022-23 budget requests

On Aug. 18, the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s budget office released budget instructions to state agencies, including TEA. The instructions come after Comptroller Glenn Hegar in July projected a $4.6 billion shortfall for the current budget cycle.

Despite the revenue uncertainty that may unfold in the coming months, or perhaps because of it, agencies are not being required to ask for less money for 2022-23 than is currently budgeted for 2020-21. Any requests for more money, including a restoration of the 5% cut ordered earlier this year, must be submitted as exceptional items.

With every budget cycle, TCTA urges Education Commissioner Mike Morath to include increased funding for school employee health insurance in TEA's exceptional items (though the statewide plan, TRS-ActiveCare, is administered through TRS, the funding for health insurance runs through the school finance formulas in the TEA budget). This year, we are also urging that the money TEA received from the federal CARES Act remain part of public education funding. Click here to read more.
Share our Top 10 video and invite coworkers to join TCTA

We put together this video of the Top 10 Reasons to Join TCTA. Share it with your colleagues and encourage them to join TCTA. You could earn $25 for every two new Active-level members you recruit. Our forms are paperless this year, so ask your coworkers to enter your TCTA member number in the Take 2 box on the online form.

Have you renewed your TCTA membership yet?
Don't go unprotected, renew by Sept. 30 to avoid a lapse in coverage!
If you have already renewed, thank you! Membership cards are being mailed twice a week as forms are processed, but the U.S. Post Office is experiencing some delays in delivery. Please allow 2-3 weeks for your card to arrive.
  • Labor Day is Sept. 7. TCTA Headquarters will be closed.
  • The State Board of Education meets Sept. 1-2 and Sept. 8-11.
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