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TEA Correspondence

A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.

April 9, 2010

The purpose of this letter is to solicit your participation in a review of all rules, requirements and guidance under the discretion of the Commissioner of Education.  I am conducting this review to identify areas of concern and seek your ideas about how to ensure that Commissioner Rules do not unnecessarily interfere with the ability of school districts to improve student performance or operate efficiently and effectively.  Naturally, any changes to the rules will need to preserve the original intent of the rule. However, my goal is to reduce the number of unnecessary rules and to provide more freedom for districts to operate within the intent of the law.

The “rules” eligible for this process include:

  • Existing Commissioner Rules in 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapters 30, 53, 61, 62, 74-76, 89, 95, 97, 100-103, 105, 109, 129, 150, 153, 157, 161, and 176
  • Commissioner Rules proposed for adoption
  • Corresponding TEA regulations and guidance related to Commissioner’s Rules

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and other TAC rules of the State Board of Education will not be a part of this review.

There are two groups of Commissioner’s Rules to be considered:  those currently adopted and those already in the review process.   Currently-adopted Commissioner’s Rules are available at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/index.html  and rules currently in the review process are available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=2388. Because rules are on a regular cycle of review, it is recommended that both sites be used to locate and study Commissioner’s Rules.

Commissioner’s Rules can be identified as the subchapters that begin with double letters.

Process:  Multiple venues and opportunities will be provided for participation: 

  • Regional stakeholder meetings will be hosted by each of the 20 Education Service Centers as a primary avenue for school district discussion of Commissioner Rules and proposals for changes.
  • Associations and other groups with an interest in public education are encouraged to convene meetings of members to solicit and provide feedback.
  • For those who cannot attend an ESC meeting or a regional forum, there will be one or more webinars. 

A web site has been created that contains key documents for the review process, provides an opportunity to give both individual and collective feedback and will contain updated information as it becomes available:  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/RulesReview/

To facilitate review, Commissioner Rule chapters will be divided into main topic areas in order to focus on rules which may address a common issue.   For each rule proposed for change, the agency will seek information including the perceived problem, the proposed change and rationale for the change.  This feedback will be collected through the web site identified above.

Proposed topics are:

  • Accountability/assessment/accreditation – Chapters 97, 100, 101, 109 (AA)
  • Funding/spending regulations/reporting/facilities – Chapters 61 (AA, BB, CC, HH, II), 62, 105, 109, 129
  • Curriculum /Instruction/Programs – Chapters 66 (AA, BB, CC), 74, 75 (BB), 89 (AA, BB, FF), 102 (AA,CC, DD, EE, GG, and HH)
  • Educators – Chapters  150, 153, 102 (BB and FF)
  • Supplemental/support programs and services  - Chapters 61, 75 (AA), 76, 89 (CC, DD, EE, GG, HH), 103, 176
  • Miscellaneous – Chapters 30, 53, 95, 157 and 161.

Timeline:  Three major periods are anticipated – stakeholder review and input, including regional ESC and other meetings; TEA compilation of comments and suggested revisions into a report outlining rules/content that is recommended for revision; and official formal proposal of rule revisions through the state Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process.  The attachment outlines the overall timeline.

Proposed time frames:

  • Regional ESC and stakeholder meetings with resulting review and comments back to TEA  - April  15 through July 23
  • TEA review and creation of report summarizing rules/content recommended for revision–July 26 through September 30
  • Formal rule changes – Beginning October on a schedule to be determined, depending on type and volume of changes

I am determined to ensure that this process results in greater flexibility for school districts to achieve their student achievement goals within the state’s accountability system.  In order to achieve that result the Agency needs your participation by:

  • reading and studying the Commissioner Rules,
  • attending one or more regional or other sponsored meetings to dialogue with your colleagues, and
  • providing concrete proposals for changes.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful input and for working with the Agency to improve our guiding rules.

Robert Scott
Commissioner of Education


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