Parts I and II of this series focused on a law passed by the 84th Texas Legislature that went into effect September 1, 2015. This law allows Texas public school districts to hire noncore academic career and technology education (CTE) teachers without the permission of the Texas commissioner of education. (School District Teaching Permits have been allowed since 1995 but previously required permission from the commissioner of ed.) Noncore academic career and technology education courses are described as those courses that do not satisfy foundation graduation course credit in math, science, language arts, or social studies.

As I wrote in Parts I and II, CTE teachers can be hired for these noncore academic courses without a bachelor’s degree but with professional work experience, formal training and education, relevant industry license, certification, or registration, or any combination of work experience, training and education, or industry credential related to the subject matter he or she will be teaching. With a School District Teaching Permit, teachers also do not have to go through an alternative certification program--which requires classroom observation hours, 300 hours of training, passing state certification exams, and observations by an ACP field supervisor—and do not have to be certified to teach by the state of Texas.

Texas also offers School District Teaching Permits for teachers in core areas (language arts, math, science, and social studies), but permits for teachers in these areas do require approval from the commissioner of education. In addition, these individuals must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and must have college credit relevant to the course(s) they will be teaching and/or relevant wage-earning experience. The number of credits and the degree of experience required is determined by the school district.

In these core areas, School District Teaching Permits may not be issued to an individual who:

1. has, or previously had, a valid Texas teaching certificate or out-of-state teaching certificate

2. has applied for a teaching certificate and had it denied

3. has, or once had, a teaching certificate that has been sanctioned or revoked

4. has taken, but has not passed, a Texas teacher certification exam; or

5. has a pending application for a SBEC (State Board for Educator Certification) teaching certificate

In other words, the School District Teaching Permits are not a means by which districts can hire those who have tried unsuccessfully to earn state certification, those who have had their certification sanctioned/revoked, or those who have gone through the process to be state-certified but have not yet been approved.

It is important to note, as well, that these permits are not available for special education and bilingual education teachers.

There have been some online discussions about this topic over the past two weeks. In next week’s fourth and final part of this series, I will address comments/ideas definitely worth noting. This has caused me to wonder how many Texas school districts are using School District Teaching Permits…

Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career. She now helps companies with business communications and social media and works as a sales coordinator for Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill. Chris can be reached at cardis1022@aol.com.