HB 642 Includes Professional Development on Technology

Update: HB 642 passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. (5/6/2013)

Please call your state representative and ask him/her to support HB 642. This bill will be voted on by the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 30th. To find out who represents you, insert your address on this form.  Call their Texas Capitol number.

Whoever answers the phone, tell them something similar to this:

“Hi my name is________. I am from the representative’s district. I want to urge the representative to support HB 642 on Tuesday, (April 30th) on the House floor. This bill will encourage more professional development for the effective use of technology in Texas classrooms.” Teacher PD

Background and Purpose:

Currently, establishing the process for continuing education requirements for classroom teachers is under the authority of the State Board of Education Certification (SBEC). Under SBEC rule, each classroom teacher is required to obtain 150 hours every five years in continuing professional education in order to renew their respective certifications. Principals and counselors are required to obtain 200 hours every five years in continuing professional education in order to renew their certifications, respectively. These requirements are extremely broad and oftentimes, not meaningful for current day public schools, classrooms and students.

HB 642 would require that as SBEC sets the certification renewal process, no more than 25% of continuing education requirements for classroom teachers, principals and counselors include instruction, within the five-year period, in the following: 

For teachers:

• Collecting and analyzing data to improve effectiveness in the classroom

• Recognizing early warning indicators of a student at risk of dropping out

Integrating technology into classroom instruction 

• Educating diverse populations

• Furthering education in the subject area taught by the educator

For principals: 

• Effective and efficient management

• Recognizing early warning indicators of a student at risk of dropping out

Integrating technology into campus curriculum and instruction

• Educating diverse student populations

• Providing instructional leadership

For counselors: 

• Assisting students in developing high school graduation plans

• Implementing dropout prevention strategies;

• Informing students concerning college admissions, including college financial aid resources and application procedures and career opportunities.

The bill would also require SBEC to link continuing education requirements for a classroom teacher to any area identified as needing improvement in the classroom teachers annual appraisal.

We know that data-driven decisions, identifying at-risk students, the integration of technology, working with diverse populations, and focusing on ones respective content area will improve classroom effectiveness and student achievement.  It is also true that principals and counselors must meet student and teacher needs moving into a new century of teaching and global competiveness.  House Bill 642 reflects those needs and ties them to already required continuing education requirements for these education professionals.

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About Jennifer Bergland

Director of Government Relations at the Texas Computer Education Association
This entry was posted in Professional Development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to HB 642 Includes Professional Development on Technology

  1. Jennifer, I want to make sure I’m reading this correctly. Does the bill say a MAXIMUM of 25% of the continuing education can come from the topics listed? If so, how does that increase the amount of tech integration PD teachers and admins will get? Sorry if I’m being thick!

    • Sandy,
      You are correct. The original version of the bill was written so that the required professional development for continuing education “must be 25%” of the total needed to renew their certificate. However, to get support for the bill, Representative Patrick changed the wording to “not more than 25%”. I had the same reaction you did until I called her office. The point is to direct the SBEC to establish some guidelines on what types of professional development teachers are required to receive to meet the continuing education requirements, AND that technology integration is to be included. Right now teachers can choose whatever professional development they want even if it doesn’t address state or district initiatives. The belief is that this bill will direct the SBEC to establish some required categories of professional development. The reason she changed the wording, is because some wanted to make sure that teachers still had input on their own professional growth. We support that as well. Of course, teachers could always choose more technology professional development in the 75% that they control. I’m glad you asked this question because it is confusing.

      • Jennifer, thanks for the clarification. I think I get it. If the bill passes, SBEC can require that UP TO 25% of an educator’s continuing education credits come from the categories listed, but it leaves the remaining 75% to the individual educator’s discretion. The difference being that under current law, SBEC cannot specify ANY requirements for any portion of an educator’s continuing education. Am I understanding it correctly now?

  2. Nettie Briggs says:

    I am following up, too with similar thoughts as Sandy’s. Initially, I thought great, technology for classroom instruction…finally! Then with thought and conversations with others, I do wonder about “to get support for the bill, Representative Patrick changed the wording to “not more than 25%” . I can see this being means by which a district can also restrict the PD to be in limited categories for the year when indeed the technology classroom instruction category is necessary for a campus or district but can be eliminated by another category. Someone made a point to me that in situation where a campus is going 1:1 or is in need of specific technology integration PD the district requirements for one of the other categories may end up superseding the need of the campus.

    I am going to have to understand this more and why it is better than what was previously proposed, what is currently in place, and maybe what it ought to be instead.

    Might we be agreeing to something with this that ends up a detriment? This may work well in some districts who currenly give no time to technology integration but a negative impact on those who are well along the path of technology integration into classroom instruction.

    We may need a more open solution that what is proposed here. There are a lot of categories for a limited number of hours and years.

  3. Nettie,
    This does not impact the professional development that a district offers. It is only for those individuals who have to earn continuing education credits (CPE) to renew their certification.

    Currently the only requirements that are in place, are the methods in which you can obtain CPE credits. For instance, a teacher can only receive 20% of their CPE credits taken by independent study. Teachers who teach dyslexia must take some training in dyslexia but that is the ONLY subject matter that is required.

    This is Representative Patrick’s attempt to encourage the SBEC to require that a portion of the CPE credits teachers and principals select to renew their certification, should include some technology integration professional development. It does not address any professional development requirements that a district provides for their teachers. Districts are allowed to require as much technology training as they think is in the best interest of their district.

    Is the bill perfect? No, but no bill is. Compromise is part of the legislative process.

    Nettie…thanks for asking. I’m so glad you all are thinking this through.

  4. Sandy,
    You have it right except for those teachers who teach dyslexia. They have to complete some training in dyslexia. Good summation though!

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