The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is a state agency that oversees public schools and educational services in the state. Among the agency’s services are mandates on school and child care staff, its Continuous Improvement Process, Educator Investigations Unit, and budget. We take a closer look at some of the agency’s most notable programs. We also consider its mandates for military families and homeless students. And finally, we discuss some of the agency’s budget policies.
TEA’s mandates for school and child care staff
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced this week that certain employees are eligible for the new vaccine. School and child care staff were included. These mandates go beyond a health inspection. Texas lawmakers have said that they are worried about the safety of kids in schools. While the TEA has stated that it wants to protect children, it is not going to be able to stop all cases of disease.
TEA’s Continuous Improvement Process
The TEA’s Continuous Improvement Process (TCIP) has been aimed at bringing down costs in a variety of processes, including manufacturing. The process is based on a multi-level data-sharing model, with data reported at the campus level and aggregated at the district level and submitted to the TEA. After analyzing the data, TEA generates reports for districts and regional ESCs, and the Office of Special Education Programs. The TCIP model also aligns with accountability aspects of the Every Student Succeeds Act and IDEA 2004.
TEA’s Educator Investigations Unit
The TEA’s Educator Investigation and Enforcement Unit conducts investigative proceedings against educators who violate the rules of professional conduct. The unit’s findings are used to determine whether to open an investigation. If the investigation is open, TEA staff will post a warning on the educator’s virtual certificate, which will be publicly available. If the case proceeds to the state administrative hearing, the judge will recommend appropriate sanctions, which can range from reprimands to permanent termination. The State Board for Educator Certification will then review the findings and recommendations. It will then make the final decision.
Last year, lawmakers cut the TEA’s budget by nearly 40 percent, resulting in the loss of almost a third of the agency’s staff. The agency is now facing tough times and may have to recruit new staff to meet its goals. The new commissioner may be asked to cut even more from TEA’s budget, making her job harder than ever. If this happens, the state’s education system could become even more destabilized.
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The Texas Education Agency’s mission is to guide the activities related to public education in Texas. The state board of education (SBOE) is composed of 15 elected members, including the Governor who appoints the board’s chair. There are 11 voting members and three non-voting members on the State Board of Educator Certification. The organization chart illustrates the agency’s organization, including the divisions and officers within it.