What happens if I resign now?
The deadline to resign from a Chapter 21 contract has passed and educators are dealing with continuously changing patterns of COVID-19 risk, varying responses by school districts, and the risk of certification sanctions if they resign. Teachers considering resigning due to COVID-19 concerns should be aware of the laws and rules that govern resignations after the legal deadline.
  • If you resign after the deadline, your school board decides whether to seek sanctions against your certificate.
  • So far, districts are handling COVID-related resignations differently, with some publicly stating that they will not seek sanctions and at least one already pursuing sanctions against an employee. (Do you know your school board's position?)
  • Though TCTA has asked for assurance that there would not be sanctions for COVID-related resignations, there has been no response from the commissioner, and it is not yet known how SBEC will handle these cases.

TEA updates pandemic school funding formula
The Texas Education Agency announced today it will extend the minimum funding guarantee established for the COVID-19 pandemic an additional six weeks. While all districts are still required to offer in-person instruction to families who want it, TEA said most will now have a funding guarantee in place for the entire first semester, giving them more flexibility and financial security while they adapt to the pandemic.

Trouble tracking COVID-19 cases

The state's database to track COVID-19 cases in schools has come under scrutiny, with many complaints about its accuracy and its failure to break the reported cases down by campus. Superintendents are only required to report districtwide data to TEA and DSHS, but many districts are tracking campus data on their websites, as well as notifying employees and parents of students when cases are confirmed on a campus.

While the Sept. 27 report showed an increase in COVID-19 cases in schools, the positivity rate remains low, and many districts are expanding the number of students on campus. A handful of smaller districts, including Louise ISD, have opted to cancel remote instruction. Others, such as Cuero ISD, are considering it. But a few districts, including Big Sandy and Evadale ISD, closed campuses temporarily and moved all students to remote learning to deep clean after clusters of COVID-19 cases. Henderson ISD moved six intermediate school classes online for two weeks after teachers tested positive. And the Hidalgo County health authority urged a delay of in-person instruction until Oct. 25 as the Rio Grande Valley remains a coronavirus hot spot.

Check out what's new in our COVID-19 FAQs

We continue to update our COVID-19 FAQs on 2020-21 Education Issues to help members understand guidance from federal and state officials.
While this information is not legal advice, we hope it helps answer questions you may have about COVID-19's impact on schools. Members who have specific concerns or questions should call the Legal Department at 888-879-8282 to speak with a staff attorney.
TEA reminds districts about College Bridge resources

TEA is encouraging districts to take advantage of its College Bridge program, which provides free optional, online, alternative courses for college preparatory math and English, competency-based progression, and dashboards to monitor and adjust student progress. TEA developed the College Bridge program to address the disruptions in learning that resulted from COVID-19. Click here to read more.
Are you registered to vote?

Monday, Oct. 5, is the deadline to register to vote ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Early voting, which is Oct. 13-30, was expanded by Gov. Greg Abbott this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oct. 23 is the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot. Check out TexasTeachersVote.org for more about candidates for the Texas House and Senate, including voting records on education issues, and go to Vote411.org to see who's on the ballot where you live.
Congratulations to state Teachers of the Year

Eric Hale, a kindergarten and first-grade teacher from Dallas ISD, was named the 2021 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. He also was chosen to represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Anthony Lopez-Waste, a history teacher and coach in Canutillo ISD in El Paso, was named the 2021 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year.

TCTA congratulates these outstanding educators and all of the Regional Teacher of the Year winners. Click here to read more and watch a video.
Apply to review Spanish K-5 resources and earn $2,500

Safal Partners is seeking Texas educators with expertise in Spanish Prekindergarten, Spanish Foundational Literacy and Spanish Language Arts and Reading (grades K-5 only) to participate in the Texas Resource Review. Those selected as reviewers will receive continuing professional education credit and a stipend of at least $2,500. Click here to apply by Oct. 23.
Share your story for World Teachers Day

A lot has been asked of teachers this year, and we're so inspired by what you do for students. In the spirit of World Teachers Day on Monday, Oct. 5, help TCTA and other Teachers Can partners celebrate you and highlight your inspiring stories. Share your story on teacherscan.org. The first 2,020 teachers to submit a video and form will receive swag and a chance to be featured in a #TeachersCanTuesday spotlight online.

Tie a light blue ribbon around a tree Oct. 5-11 to show your support for teachers. A few cities, including San Antonio, will light buildings blue at night to show their support for educators. You also can use the "TeachersCan" Facebook frame to celebrate World Teachers Day next week.
26 Texas schools earn national Blue Ribbon honors

The U.S. Department of Education announced that 26 Texas public schools received 2020 national Blue Ribbon honors. The program recognizes elementary, middle and high schools that have high student achievement and/or highlights where exemplary progress has been made in closing achievement gaps. Click here to see this year's Texas winners, which were nominated by TEA in February.
TEA finds systemic failures in Houston ISD special ed

Special investigators with the Texas Education Agency are urging more state oversight of special education services in Houston ISD. Officials recently released a final report of their findings from a probe that began last October, noting that “systematic failure in special education has become institutionalized.” Houston ISD said that administrators are “disappointed with the outcome of the investigation and believe it is factually and legally incorrect.” Click here to read more.
Encourage your colleagues 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 eligible Active-level members you recruit through Dec. 31 with our Take 2/Make $25 program. Click here for details.
  • Sept. 15-Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • The 2020-21 FAFSA form for federal student aid is now available.
  • Oct. 31 is Halloween.
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