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HISD Seeks Waiver From TEA In Order To Hire Uncertified People To Teach In Classrooms

Houston ISD says it will seek a waiver from the TEA to allow the district to hire people for teaching positions, even though they aren’t certified.

Houston ISD says it will seek a waiver from the TEA to allow the district to hire people for teaching positions, even though they aren’t certified.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Houston ISD has said it is seeking a waiver from the Texas Education Agency that would allow it to hire people to fill teaching roles that don’t have teacher certifications.

ABC13 reached out to HISD about this move, and the district said no one would be available to talk about it this Tuesday or Wednesday.

We don’t know the exact number of teacher vacancies at HISD, but we do know more than 800 teachers resigned from March to July 2023.

To help fill the gaps, the district is seeking a waiver from the TEA that would allow a person to teach without the necessary certification requirements.

Michelle Williams, an HISD teacher with the Houston Education Association, a teacher’s advocacy group, said she would rather see the district put out a call for retired teachers and have Miles’s staff step in.

“Put your staff in there. Make them go teach the kids. They have certifications. His executive team has certifications – all of them are certified to teach,” Williams said.

She said it’s one thing to be knowledgeable in a subject. It’s another to know how to teach and how to manage a classroom – skills she said you learn when becoming certified.

“When you have a person who comes just off of the street and says, ‘Hey, I’m going to be a teacher,’ they know nothing about the dynamics of teaching, classroom management. Then there is the content knowledge. There is dealing with parents. That cannot be taught in one year,” Williams said.

Andrew Kirk was hired at Dallas ISD before he was certified. He said new teachers lean heavily on veteran teachers to learn how to manage a classroom and effectively teach. He worries that if there are too many new people, too much time will be spent coaching and not enough time teaching.

“Veteran teachers are spending time supporting those newer teachers rather than focusing on their own classrooms and students,” Kirk said.

Kirk said to address the teacher shortage, there needs to be a bigger focus on improving pay, reducing teacher workload, and providing more intentional support for budding teachers.

An email from HISD said there is a plan to ensure every district campus starts the school year fully staffed with qualified, trained educators. And there will be a targeted use of certification waivers for some educators in some circumstances, but again, they are not defining what “some circumstances” means or how many uncertified teachers will be hired.

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