Press Release

On Friday, April 12, 2024, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) approved a number of new standards adopted by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to better prepare aspiring Texas teachers regardless of their pathway into the profession. Among the approved changes is the creation of an “Enhanced Standard Certificate” to be awarded to candidates who complete a high-quality, yearlong teacher residency route. While residency programs have grown in popularity across the country, Texas now becomes the first state to recognize residency completers by awarding a certification status that signals their more rigorous preparation to district employers and future educators.

While teacher vacancies have received significant attention, Texas schools are employing more teachers than ever. However, nearly the entire statewide demand for new teachers has been to offset attrition, especially among beginning teachers. School districts have increasingly turned to unprepared and uncertified teachers to meet this demand, despite data showing that only 37% of them remain in the classroom five years later. As a result, approximately 1 in 10 Texas students were educated by a first-year teacher last year.

Yearlong residency programs, which rely upon strong partnerships between innovative educator preparation programs and school districts, have grown across Texas in recent years. Data shows that 90% percent of candidates who complete this high-touch, hands-on model return for a third year of teaching in Texas and are more likely to complete their residency and work in schools with higher percentages of students from low-income backgrounds and students of color.

In response, Jean Streepey, the Chair of SBEC, issued the following statement:

This marks a critical step in supporting our newest teachers with the quality preparation needed to be classroom ready, resulting from years of work with stakeholders across the state. Teachers are the number one in-school factor affecting student outcomes, and supporting teachers in their first years is critical to improving both teacher retention and student performance. The new preparation standards not only recognize the year-long residency pathway but also provide support across the teacher pipeline to create a more sustainable workforce. We are excited to see the implementation of these initiatives for our teachers, their schools and their students.”

About her vote to approve the residency certification, SBOE District 4 Member Staci Childs, said: 

“I heard countless testimonies of how much residency programs improve a beginning teacher’s experience. The Houston region produces more residents than anywhere else in the state. Those teachers deserve to be recognized for their hard work and commitment to students.”

Jonathan Feinstein, the Texas State Director for The Education Trust, added:

“We applaud the State Board of Education for taking urgently-needed action to help every aspiring teacher receive the hands-on training and support they deserve to meet the needs of Texas students who cannot afford to lose precious learning time. We look forward to working with state lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session to fund a bipartisan teacher residency allotment that will ensure the sustainability and accessibility of these high-quality pathways into the profession.”

In support of the new standards approved by SBOE, Dr. Chris Sloan, Associate and Interim Dean at Tarleton State University’s College of Education, said:

“Universities across the state are digging into the area of teacher preparation with a new set of eyes and a rejuvenated energy. School districts will benefit from this new energy, Texas will benefit from this new energy, but most importantly, children in classrooms will benefit from this new focus on higher quality teacher preparation. I am proud that Tarleton State University is leading the way in this shift to higher quality standards.”

Citing the recommendations of the Teacher Vacancy Task Force, Teach Plus Texas Policy Manager Natalie Brown says Texas teachers  welcome stronger educator preparation and candidate supports:

“Current teachers want their newest peers to have access to high quality certification routes that include real classroom experiences, quality mentorship, and supports such as increased observation and feedback. Ultimately, when a teacher is well prepared and supported, they stay in the profession longer and their students achieve at higher levels.”