KBS Reference Desk: DOI and Certification

Q:        Our school district is a District of Innovation (DOI) with exemption from all laws related to teacher certification. Historically, the district has relied on the exemption to allow professionals to teach CTE classes; however, due to the teaching shortage, we are going to be forced to utilized noncertified teachers in core instruction. Does our DOI status truly provide freedom to use uncertified personnel for any subject area?

 A:        Not exactly, while a school district may be exempt from state laws concerning certification, Innovation Districts remain subject to federal law. In addition, there are some certification laws not eligible for exemption.

First, federal law requires all bilingual, English as a second language (ESL), and special education teachers to have appropriate certification. The DOI plan will have no impact on candidate eligibility for these positions.

Second, 19 Texas Administrative Code section 102.1309, the implementing regulations for Districts of Innovation, defines the areas that are not allowed to be exempted via DOI plan.  Texas Education Code section 28.0211 (which is identified in the DOI regulations) requires that “a student who is promoted by a grade placement committee [into fourth, sixth, or ninth grade due to unsatisfactory performance on the math or reading STAAR] must be assigned in each subject in which the student failed to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instruction . . . to a teacher who meets all state and federal qualifications to teach that subject and grade.” Tex. Educ. Code  § 28.0211(a, n).

In light of this section, reading and math teachers in fourth, sixth, and ninth grade must be certified if they are assigned students that did not pass the math or reading STAAR in third, fifth, or eighth grade.

While not eligible for exemption pursuant to an Innovation Plan, subsection n-1 of Texas Education Code section 28.0211 does provide the Commissioner of Education the authority to “waive the requirement . . . regarding the assignment of a student to an appropriately certified classroom teacher on the request of a school district.” The waiver contemplated is implemented through the Commissioner’s certification waivers available in TEAL further outlined on TEA’s website: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/waivers/state-waivers. Thus, to the extent that you intend to use noncertified teachers for the 2022-23 school year for core subject areas or special programs (such as special education or ESL), we recommend working with TEA State Waivers Unit or your local school lawyer to assess options for assignment.

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: On Call Employees over 4th of July Holiday
July 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Employment of Students
June 24, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Social Gatherings Conventions
June 17, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Volunteers Under Guardian Plan
June 10, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: FML Leave Over the Summer
May 27, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Decrease in Compensation
May 20, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Participation in Graduation Ceremonies
May 13, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Custodians of Record – TPIA
May 6, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Driving Students to Polls
April 29, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Authority to Create New Position
April 22, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Booster Club Raffle
April 15, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Returning a Teacher to Probationary Status
April 8, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Termination of Probationary Contract While On Leave
April 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Long COVID and Special Education Referrals
March 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
March 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Nepotism
March 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: New SBOE Rules on Contract Abandonment
March 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Web Accessibility
February 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Political Advocacy Prohibitions
February 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
February 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: House Bill 2581 Procurement Updates
February 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: CDL Waivers for Bus Drivers
January 28, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Interstate Travel Liability and Travel Forms Best Practices
January 21, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Updated Stay at Home Periods
January 14, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: On Call Employees Over Holidays
December 17, 2021