A change from House Bill 3 is the addition of a new section of code, Tex. Edu. Code 28.0062. This new code places new requirements on charter schools in the areas of Reading Academies and Certification of Practices to TEA. There is also a new testing requirement for teaching certificates for Pre-K through 6th-grade teachers. This requirement is not applicable to charters unless they require a Texas certification for their teachers. Additionally, the new certification requirement is not retroactive, it will only apply to people who obtain a certificate after January 2021.

Reading Academies

All teachers and administrators of kindergarten, first, second, or third-grade students will be required to attend a reading academy. TEA is in the process of creating guidelines and authorizing providers of this training. The list of authorized providers is expected by March of 2020 and trainings will begin in the summer of 2020. The training will be specialized for teachers and administrators and will be offered in two different manners. The comprehensive program is an in-person training and TEA expects the cost to be between $3000 and $6000 per person. The other option is a blended program that will combine in-person training with internet-based training. They expect this type of program to cost from $300 to $500 per person.

Certification to TEA

Each school will have to certify to TEA that they are

  1. implementing a phonics curriculum in grades K-3;
  2. prioritizing the placement of highly effective teachers in K-2; and
  3. utilizing integrated reading instruments used to diagnose reading development and comprehension to support each student in pre-k-3.

TEA will have a survey for schools to complete in order to certify these three requirements.

Paying for these Requirements

TEA suggests allocating funds from a number of different sources in order to pay for the reading requirements imposed in HB3. They suggest using funds from the early education allotment, the dyslexia allotment, the basic allotment, the bilingual education allotment, and the compensatory education allotment. Additionally, if schools choose to provide a stipend to the teacher to cover the cost of the reading academy, they may count those stipends as part of the required 30% compensation increase.

TEA has provided a webinar on this topic, which can be viewed here. As always, TCSA is happy to assist your charter in complying with these requirements. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact TCSA.