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INSIGHT TASA Midwinter Conference: January 30–February 2

Welcome to Austin!

Interested in quality online high school courses? Did you know state funding is available? Texas Virtual School Network Visit our website to see how your district or open-enrollment charter school can participate!




winter 2010 Volume 25

No. 4 Leadership Focus

Featured Articles The New Digital Learning Environment: An Introduction to Article I of Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas 13 by Richard Erdmann and Christine Drew Examines four pressures on American public education caused by technological change and suggests some ways to respond

Teacher Quality Research for Texas: Harnessing the Power of Collaboration through the Texas Public Schools Research Network


by William Reaves and Sherri Lowrey Provides an update on activities of the Network since 2007, particularly highlighting the work of TPSRN’s first two cohorts of Public School Research Scholars

Understanding the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators


by David P. Thompson and JoAnn Klinker Covers the history of the Educators’ Code of Ethics, its stated purpose, enforcement of and sanctions for violation, quasi-judicial decisions involving the ECE, and prospective changes


Oh, Yes, Even You Can Be a Fundraiser: How Education Foundations for Public School Districts Are Going Mainstream


by Larry Goddard Reveals that resources are popping up across the United States to provide knowledge for successful creation and certain sustaining of education foundations

Legal Insights

Superintendents and Nepotism under the Texas Education Code: Avoiding the “Brother-in-Law” Deal


by Neal W. Adams, Jerry D. Bullard, and Allan S. Graves Explains legislation passed in 2007 that changed the Texas nepotism laws that apply to superintendents

Special Recognition Richard Middleton—Texas’ Nominee for 2011 AASA Superintendent of the Year


by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo Recognizes Richard Middleton as Texas’ representative in AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year program, highlighting his talent and vision during his past two decades at North East ISD

Los Fresnos CISD—Winner of TASA’s 2010 Outstanding School Board Award


by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo Pays tribute to Los Fresnos CISD as TASA’s 2010 Outstanding School Board, citing its expectations for students and commitment to providing students with the tools they need to succeed

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President’s Message Executive Director’s View

7 11

Officers John Fuller, President, Wylie ISD Rod Townsend, President-Elect, Decatur ISD Jeff N. Turner, Vice-President, Coppell ISD John M. Folks, Past President, Northside ISD

Executive Committee Scott B. Owings, Sharyland ISD, 1 Paul Clore, Gregory-Portland ISD, 2 Robert Mark Pool, El Campo ISD, 3 Alton Frailey, Katy ISD, 4 Philip Welch, Orangefield ISD, 5 Fred Brent, Anderson-Shiro CISD, 6 J. Glenn Hambrick, Carthage ISD, 7 Kathy G. Allen, Hooks ISD, 8

TASA Headquarters Staff

Executive Director

Associate Executive Director, Administrative Services

Assistant Executive Director, Communications & Information Systems

Tom Woody, Vernon ISD, 9

Johnny L. Veselka

Todd Williams, Kaufman ISD, 10

Paul L. Whitton, Jr.

Darrell G. Floyd, Stephenville ISD, 11 Kevin Houchin, McGregor ISD, 12

Ann M. Halstead


Anne Harpe

Editorial Coordinator

Karen Limb

INSIGHT is published quarterly by the Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701-2617. Subscription is included in TASA membership dues. © 2010 by TASA. All rights reserved. TASA members may reprint articles in limited quantities for in-house educational use. Articles in INSIGHT are expressions of the author or interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of TASA. Advertisements do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the Texas Association of School Administrators. INSIGHT is printed by Thomas Graphics, Austin, Texas.

David Shanley, Johnson City ISD, 13 Shane Fields, Albany ISD, 14 Russ F. Perry, Nueces Canyon CISD, 15 Mike Lee, Booker ISD, 16 Deanna Logan, Ralls ISD, 17 Kevin Allen, Iraan-Sheffield ISD, 18 Lorenzo Garcia, El Paso ISD, 19 Richard A. Middleton, North East ISD, 20

At-Large Members Charles E. Dupre, Pflugerville ISD Steve Flores, Harlingen CISD Lolly Guerra, San Marcos CISD Karen G. Rue, Northwest ISD

Editorial Advisory Committee John Fuller, Chair Steve Flores, Harlingen CISD Alton L. Frailey, Katy ISD Richard A. Middleton, North East ISD Karen G. Rue, Northwest ISD Rod Townsend, Decatur ISD Jeff N. Turner, Coppell ISD



cover photo © 2010 Anne G. Harpe


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President’s Message It is now time to take a hard look at the future. I believe we have a moral obligation to provide future students with the same opportunities for life, liberty, and freedom that we have enjoyed. We are preparing students for a world we have not experienced.

Are the Public Schools in Texas Ready for the Transformation? The Answer Is YES!


iving in a free country where public education is available to all children is wonderful. It has been a hallmark of our nation. However, I am convinced that public education in the United States in the future will not exist as it has for the last 375 years. Stop and reflect with me.We have an incredibly rich history of success in our public schools. If we go back to the first common school founded in 1635 in Massachusetts, we can take pride in being the most literate country in the world for almost four centuries. The United States of America is a great nation today because of the education it has provided for all learners in the common schools; the compulsory public schools that followed; and, most recently, in those public schools that are developing learners for the 21st century.We can certainly look back with pride and honor at this legacy. We also have much to celebrate when we examine the present education system in Texas. We took a hard look at education in the early 1980s, and in 1984 we began to implement some of the most renowned and far-reaching reforms public education has ever experienced. As a result, we have entered the 21st century far ahead of many other states and countries in providing all of our students an opportunity for a “world-class” education. It is now time to take a hard look at the future. I believe we have a moral obligation to provide future students with the same opportunities for life, liberty, and freedom that we have enjoyed. We are preparing students for a world we have not experienced. The challenge is to educate ALL of our learners for jobs and responsibilities that do not even exist today, and perhaps have not even been envisioned yet. The unskilled labor market that once welcomed students to exit public schools early no longer has the demand for or an abundance of jobs for unskilled laborers. Today’s students must compete globally for jobs that demand a high level of both skills and intellect. Students must exit public schools with abilities to be creative, collaborative, and imaginative. Higher-level thinking skills are essential to survival.As we plan for the future, we must prepare ALL students for success in what can best be characterized as a global community.

winter 2010


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President’s Message, continued As the caterpillar celebrates life during the larva stage, it becomes ready to enter the pupa stage where a great metamorphosis takes place while it is encased in the chrysalis. We, too, have moved beyond the caterpillar stage in public education. We have entered the chrysalis stage where we will soon become transparent, emerging as a beautiful butterfly. If we try to remain in the larva stage, we will never experience the excitement of flying blissfully through the air, nor will we see the majestic beauty of what it means to be a butterfly. Recently, I was reading a report from the 1983 Select Committee on Public Education chaired by Ross Perot.When I finished reading the report, I had to ask myself a tough question. Are we making history by transforming our public schools in Texas or are we reliving history by simply reforming our public schools one more time? Public education does not need additional reformation; the modern-day challenge demands a real transformation. TASA is working with superintendents, central office staff, and principals building capacity for the transformation. I know many Texas superintendents are ready for the transformation. Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas has been published, and many of us are anxious to see the transformation. I don’t know exactly what our butterfly will look like; however, the vision is clearly stated in the visioning document. “We envision schools where all children succeed, feel safe, and their curiosity is cultivated. We see schools that foster a sense of belonging and community and that inspire collaboration.We see learning standards that challenge, and intentionally designed experiences that delight students, develop their confidence and competence, and cause every child to value tasks that result in learning. Ultimately, we see schools and related venues that prepare all children for many choices that give them the tools and attitudes to contribute to our democratic way of life and live successfully in a rapidly changing world.” Furthermore, Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas states,“We pledge ourselves to act on these beliefs, to pursue these ends, and to be willing to take the personal and professional risks required, for we do not believe the next generation will have the opportunity open to us today. It is with a sense of responsibility and urgency that we take on this enormous task, the first of which is to invite those who may share our discontent and the possibilities of our approach to join us in seeking understanding, in improving it, and in taking strategic actions necessary to begin and sustain this critical journey of transformation.” The six articles in Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas are essential to the success of the transformation. As a caterpillar, we must realize the need for (I) a new digital learning environment, (II) new learning standards, (III) assessments for learning, (IV) accountability for learning, (V) organizational transformation, and (VI) a more balanced and reinvigorated state/ local partnership.We must be bold enough and have the courage to fly if we are to be strong enough to break open the chrysalis that currently binds us.We must do what is morally right for our children.We must prepare them for their future, not our past. I am one who is convinced that superintendents are ready, boards are ready, parents are ready, and most importantly our teachers and students are ready. Please join me as we begin the great transformation of public education by embracing and supporting a new vision for public education in Texas.

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Midwinter 2011: Leaders Transforming Learning through Collaboration

W Executive director’s VIEW The focus on 21st century

ith 2011 right around the corner, I can’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than by attending TASA’s annual Midwinter Conference. The conference has become synonymous with outstanding professional learning for Texas’ school leaders, and its reputation is one we protect fiercely. Our goal is to offer a feature-rich, affordable conference with quality sessions and speakers addressing the many issues that face school leaders in districts of all sizes and demographics. Superintendents and district leadership teams don’t have the luxury of a narrow focus of responsibility. Accordingly, the Midwinter Conference must meet a broad range of expectations, as districts increasingly make the conference a team event.To that end, the 2011 Midwinter Conference presents attendees with a smorgasbord of choices guaranteed to appeal to even the most specialized tastes.Traditional topics like finance, human resource management, instructional leadership, facility planning, and operations take on new twists as presenters share creative ways to tackle budget woes, address new student assessment and accountability requirements, and bring innovative ideas to districts facing limited resources.

leadership and digital learning has become prevalent in education circles, and we have a strong showing of dynamic sessions designed to share information about these vital topics and their role in the quest for excellence in Texas public education.

The focus on 21st century leadership and digital learning has become prevalent in education circles, and we have a strong showing of dynamic sessions designed to share information about these vital topics and their role in the quest for excellence in Texas public education. Digital-learning and technology topics have naturally proliferated, addressing everything from the strengths and pitfalls of social networking to encompassing technology tools and techniques in the classroom to enhancing communications with students and parents. The ongoing emphasis on accountability and assessment created a special need for us to include additional sessions on related topics, including the continuing implementation of HB 3, the state accountability system, and the use of data to improve learning. The start of the 82nd Legislative Session on January 11 adds another dimension to this Midwinter Conference, providing an opportunity to collaborate with your colleagues on critical budget issues and hear the latest updates on anticipated legislative actions. Access Midwinter Conference Anytime, Anywhere! We’re very excited to announce a smartphone app designed just for Midwinter Conference and Education Expo. You’ll be able to review and create a personalized schedule of conference sessions in advance; communicate with colleagues, search for speakers, and download presentations and white papers; and use the interactive exhibit hall map to locate, schedule meetings with, and learn more about Expo vendors on your smartphone, iPad, or laptop computer. In addition to our smartphone app, we’ll post an electronic version of the conference program book to TASAnet.This searchable, interactive guide will give you a head start on planning your conference schedule, as well as provide live links to related resources such as exhibitors.Watch for launch announcements of these interactive Midwinter/Education Expo features in TASA Daily and on TASAnet soon!

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The New Digital Learning Environment: An Introduction to Article I of Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas by Richard Erdmann and Christine Drew

In their book The Race between Education and Technology, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz describe education and technology as racing against each other over time. Today, technological advances have indeed raced ahead of education, and the increasingly rapid rate of change makes it very difficult for education to catch up.The result is that technological change is continually putting pressure on education to modernize, but no matter what educators do it seems not to be enough.Article I of Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas challenges public education to respond to the pressures of the digital age, but it is difficult to respond without first understanding the pressures themselves. This article examines four pressures on American public education caused by technological change and suggests some ways to respond.

Pressures for Change • Changing Labor Market—Technology is changing the labor market by automating or enabling the outsourcing of routine work, be it manual or cognitive, and replacing it with high-end work that requires expert judgment, communication skills, and all the knowledge that those two skill sets imply.The impact of technology results in new jobs at the other end of the spectrum and builds a demand for site-specific, generally low-paying non-routine manual work. Cutting across these two growing areas of employment is a demand for skills that are difficult to define. These new skills are “soft skills” such as responsibility, initiative, persistence, and creativity. • Drive for Improved Productivity—Technology has made an enormous contribution to the growth of productivity in the private and public sectors, but has yet to make a similar contribution in education. Business and political leaders, along with the community in general, do not understand why education has not kept up with the use of technology for productivity gains. • Demand for New Skill Sets—As with all technology changes, the digital technologies of the 21st century create new skill sets that are technology specific. Some of these, like word processing, cut across almost all fields; while some, like CAD/CAM, are quite specific to a technology or even a product. • Generational Culture Gap—The popularity of certain technologies with our youth has widened the cultural gap between students and schools well beyond its normal distance. Schools have never been very good at bridging the generational culture gap, but today’s gap is too wide to ignore.

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Responding to Pressure

and have only begun to understand. This Changing Labor Market. Often the amorphous category includes the ill-defined appropriate and necessary responses to skills we call habits and attitudes of lifelong pressure are found in the pressure itself, learning, responsibility, initiative, creativity, and sometimes we can find clues in history. collaboration, and empathy, among others. Sometimes we just have to use our best guesses and experiment to find solutions. Drive for Improved Productivity. This brings This time, if we are going to respond to us to the second pressure, the pressure to be these pressures for change, we will need to more productive. Simply by observing how technology has impacted the world around do all three. us we can develop a few simple guidelines. Frank Levy and David Autor of MIT and Richard Murnane of Harvard have been • Technology has automated the routine. Have we truly begun to explore what working on a response to the first pressure is routine in teaching and learning and for the past 10 years or more. In general, experimented with technology as a their response can be summarized as four solution for the routine? targets for educational reform. • Communications and information access have been transformed, and this Students will need to: reality needs to be incorporated into • Develop higher and higher levels of our educational framework and used to verbal and quantitative literacy—reading, elevate the complexity of skills that we writing, and math. expect students to master. • Acquire a broad and growing body of knowledge needed to work and live in • Tools of analysis, research, design, and creativity are also changing rapidly, and the 21st century. these tools need to be embraced by our • Become analytical and creative thinkers schools as well if we expect our students able to communicate complex ideas to develop better skills in these areas. effectively. • Develop proficiency with a broad array of technological tools and, for some Demand for New Skill Sets. This third students, a specialized proficiency related guideline leads naturally into the third pressure—technology requires its own to job-specific tools. • Develop work habits and personal unique and new set of skills. Fortunately, characteristics consistent with individual we have a history lesson that might help and collaborative responsibility and formulate a response. The last massive technological change in America led to continual change. This is not an easy challenge. It means industrialization and urbanization. The that we must do what we have always American high school was our response done, do it better, and at the same time to industry’s needs for a different kind add critical thinking and communication of workforce, and the high school was skills to the mix. These critical thinking incredibly successful at educating a and communication skills are currently workforce with appropriate new skills. not a part of our high-stakes assessments or, consequently, a part of much of our The expansion of the high school resulted in curriculum and instruction. This is an two very different responses: additive process. We are not being given an 1. The high school prepared students directly for a workplace requiring option of teaching less content while raising different skills for rapidly expanding the levels of instruction. office work. The first schools to respond to the changing workplace were private Added to all of this is something we do and vocational, focusing on training not measure at all, generally do not teach,

young women or girls for clerical work. The public school districts responded by building high schools with courses in shorthand, typing, and bookkeeping. This array of courses lasted into the early ’70s, and had a profound and positive impact on high school graduation rates and the school-to-work transfer. If one takes this solution apart, there are two characteristics that should influence our policies today. There was competition between private and public schools, and the public school prevailed. There was also a tight link between high schools and the demands of the labor market. In this country, this link—the relationship between schools and job preparation— was broken when the focus of the high school changed to one of preparing all students to be college ready. 2. The American high school also prepared a constantly increasing number of students for college and, as the cost of college declined into the 1980s, this tie between K–12 and higher education had a very positive impact on high school graduation rates, which has weakened since the rapid increase in the cost of college. Generational Culture Gap. The last pressure for change is the disconnect between students and schools, and it is as much of an opportunity as a pressure. Students come to school with more technical skills than at any time in the past. If we are serious about engaging students, we need to engage in learning with the tools that they already know and use. Then we need to enhance those skills and direct them into our teaching and learning efforts.Three obvious examples that merit careful consideration are cell phone, games, and Internet access. If developing student responsibility is important, defining an appropriate balance in policies related to cell phones, games, and Internet access is probably a continuous process that evolves as technologies change.

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Visioning the Digital Age in Texas Schools

10,000, and different still from a district of 500 students. Understanding the pressures for change and looking at the responses in the past should offer encouragement that we can do it again, but only if we are willing to view the new digital learning environment as a positive opportunity as well as a pressure for change. n

Creating a Vision for Public Education in Texas, a document developed by a group of superintendents under the leadership of the Texas Association of School Administrators with the assistance of John Horn and the SHW Group, addresses the race between education and technology head-on. The document is divided into six articles, the first Richard Erdmann is founder and CEO, and of which addresses technology and essentially Christine Drew is president and COO, of dominates the visioning document. Syfr, a company dedicated to initiating and nourishing a culture of change in American The title of Article I is “The New Digital education that embraces innovation and Learning Environment.” The following creativity while expecting all students to excel, statement of principle introduces the independent of their demographics. Article. “Digitization and miniaturization of information processing power are External Links expanding exponentially and are changing the world, our lives, and our communities • Articles by David Autor on the polarization of the labor market and at an overwhelming speed. To be viable, implications for higher education. For a schools must adapt to this new environment. general purpose article, read here: http:// We must embrace and seize technology’s potential to capture the hearts and minds of jobs_autor.aspx. For a more complete this, the first digital generation, so that the study, read here: work designed for them is more engaging AM/Template.cfm?Section=Publicatio and respects their superior talents with ns1&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay. cfm&ContentID=37944. digital devices and connections.” • Summary of an economics article about the relationship between technology To begin this process of engaging students investment and productivity, http:// we must first understand the pressures that bring us to this point in time. They are html; and a link to the entire article, the changing labor market, the drive for improved productivity in our schools, the One pressure on schools resulting from need for a closer school-to-work tie that the use of technology in the general labor includes encompassing more technology market is to replicate the productivity skills for all learners, and incorporating gains of that labor market. Essentially this the technology of our students. If we are means that students are expected to learn to leave a legacy through education in the st more per hour of classroom time. 21 century, the decision to respond to the pressures of the digital age and to change • Link to a YouTube film on the rapid rate of change, which should provide our ways is really not an option. There are some indication of the widening gap probably multiple responses that will work. between youth and schools in terms We need to encourage practices that explore of technology usage and what students a diversity of answers and understand that, are doing with it. The focus is on social just as we encourage the use of multiple networks. measures in assessment for learning, we will watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8#http:// need multiple answers for teaching and w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = reaching our students. What works in an sIFYPQjYhv8%20. urban district of 150,000 may be different than the answer for a suburban district of 16


Related Podcasts (Available to SyfrSpace™ subscribers only. Subscribe at • Technology: A Pressure to Change discusses the various pressures on education caused by technology, and SyfrSpace discusses primarily four: changes in the labor market, productivity, the demand for technology skills, and the gap between students and schools. • Technology: The Process of Change is a discussion of the fairly predictable way that technology changes organizations and work. It is taken largely from the works of John Naisbitt and Clayton Christenson. • Technology: Policies for Change looks at schools historically and their tie to technology, and builds off the work of Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz. • Technology: Practices for Change begins an investigation of classroom practices as they pertain to technology. This is the first of many articles to come on technology and classroom practice. • The 4 P’s—Pressure, Process, Policies, and Practice is an introductory look at how SyfrSpace approaches an analysis of change. • The Race Between Education and Technology by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz looks at the historical relationship between the economy, schools, and technology to find some solutions for today’s educational problems. It is an excellent primer on the theory underlying President Obama’s approach to improving American public education. • The New Division of Labor focuses on how the 21st century brings with it a new labor market. The middle class, both the educated but routine worker and the union worker, are finding their jobs disappearing. The ramifications for education are substantial and even the C-level college graduate cannot find work.

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Teacher Quality Research for Texas: Harnessing the Power of Collaboration through the Texas Public Schools Research Network by William Reaves and Sherri Lowrey The Fall 2007 edition of INSIGHT included an article acquainting readers with the Texas Public Schools Research Network (TPSRN), then a newly formed research venture between TASA and the Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education (CREATE). CREATE is a multi-system research consortium involving some 45 Texas universities and is jointly operated by the state’s four largest university systems— The Texas A&M University System,The Texas State University System,The University of Houston System, and The University of Texas System. The consortium’s research agenda focuses on issues of teacher quality and effectiveness; and through programs and services to its member universities, CREATE seeks to translate and apply sound educational research for purposes of improving university-based teacher preparation practices. Given that teacher quality and effectiveness are critical professional interests of Texas superintendents, TASA partnered with CREATE to establish the Texas Public Schools Research Network, the result of which is an innovative public school/university research partnership offering unique research opportunities and resources to member school districts.This article provides an update on the activities of the Network since 2007, particularly highlighting the work of TPSRN’s first two cohorts of Public School Research Scholars. The Public School Research Scholars Program is new to the Network. It offers research support services to a select group of school professionals, enabling them to acquire technical support and practical consultation necessary to complete dissertation studies in the field of teacher quality and effectiveness.

An Update on CREATE/Texas Public Schools Research Network In establishing the Texas Public Schools Research Network (TPSRN), CREATE and TASA extended initial invitations to approximately 35 school districts to join as “core” members of the Network. These core invitees were selected to assure appropriate geographic and demographic representation across the state; however, in addition to this “core” group, the partnering organizations have actively solicited other interested districts to participate in TPSRN research projects. There is no fee for district membership in the Network; and member districts elect to participate in a cafeteria of proposed TPSRN studies on a “caseby-case” basis, dependent upon the district’s preferences and prior obligations. In electing to pursue studies of high interest, districts also gain opportunities for input into the final research designs to assure that the particular research questions are appropriately addressed from the district’s perspective. In joining these selected studies, participating school districts commit modest in-kind expenses necessary to facilitate efficient data collection and research dissemination within their own district. These expenses include the superintendent’s designation of a local study “coordinator” who serves as part-time research liaison for the study and as the principal contact for the CREATE research team. Additionally,

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districts provide for nominal travel costs for their study liaison to travel to meetings related to design and implementation of the research. Thus, for only minimal fiscal outlay, districts are able to enhance their own research capacity and potentially secure valuable research findings that can enable them to develop and support strong teachers within their schools. Likewise, the participation of TPSRN members assists in shaping meaningful research with greater applicability for Texas school districts. In this way, superintendents and their districts are making significant contributions to the professional knowledge base on teacher quality and effectiveness, findings of which can influence long-term improvements in both school district and university practices related to teacher development. Since 2007, TPSRN has completed two network-wide studies relating to novice teacher development in Texas, and is in the final stages of a third major investigation regarding school district hiring practices in our state. Recently completed TPSRN studies include The Texas Teacher Induction Study, the largest examination to date of teacher induction practices and related effects within our state; and The 50 Texas Teachers Study, a longitudinal qualitative analysis of the career “launch” experiences of 50 science and math teachers in Texas high schools. Currently,TPRSN researchers are analyzing the initial results of surveys associated with A Study of Teacher Selection, Assignment and Classroom Effectiveness in Texas Schools, with preliminary findings projected for December 2010.

The Public School Research Scholars Program Beginning in 2009, CREATE and TASA launched the Public School Research Scholars Program in an effort to encourage practicing teachers and administrators within TPSRN districts to develop doctoral research in areas of teacher quality and effectiveness and to support their implementation of successful dissertation research in the field. Recognizing that many school professionals in TPSRN districts were also involved in doctoral studies at 20


CREATE institutions, CREATE sought to connect the research interests of TPSRN districts with the dissertation needs of their professional staff. While still in its relative infancy, the Public School Research Scholars Program is already offering promising new ground for synergizing CREATE’s research agenda by empowering cadres of talented school professionals from TSPRN districts to design and conduct studies that simultaneously address their own doctoral research, while addressing research topics relating to teacher quality and effectiveness sought by both schools and universities. Nominations are solicited for prospective Public School Research Scholars in late February from superintendents and designated research liaisons at each TSPRN member district, as well as from deans of education and doctoral program leaders in CREATE universities. Nominees and interested candidates submit applications in March; and from these, CREATE staff select an annual cohort of 5–7 for inclusion in the program. Successful candidates have completed most (if not all) of their doctoral coursework, have a designated dissertation chair or advisor, and are pursuing a research topic broadly related to teacher quality and effectiveness in Texas schools. Candidates selected to participate in the Research Scholars Program receive professional development awards of up to $3,000 to underwrite their attendance at a series of three, multi-day “design seminars” held each month during June–August on the campus of The University of Houston. Attendance at these seminars, led by senior researchers at CREATE as well as university research faculty from CREATE institutions, are mandatory for selected Scholars.The seminars offer an active work environment for cohort members, with Scholars expected to work collaboratively with each other as well as seminar “faculty” to refine their research topics and questions, strengthen research designs, and build research management skills. Seminar faculty serve as informal dissertation “coaches”

for these cohort members, offering professional advice, experienced counsel, and technical assistance to aid Research Scholars in developing sound dissertation proposals for successful presentation to their respective doctoral committees. Research Scholars are also provided assigned readings and research projects to be completed on their own time between seminars. The design series culminates with each Scholar presenting a final version of their approved dissertation proposal to CREATE by midOctober. Once Research Scholars have received formal committee approvals at their respective institutions, they are eligible to receive an additional implementation award from CREATE of up to $4,000.The implementation award is to assist Scholars in defraying expenses associated with literature review, data collection, report development, and dissemination. This support package has proven to be a popular and valuable resource for selected doctoral candidates, providing them with coaching, mentoring, and funding necessary to facilitate successful completion of dissertation research. Likewise, for CREATE and TPSRN members, the program has helped to promote research proposals consistent with the needs and interests of member institutions. Since its inauguration in 2009, CREATE has selected a total of 10 doctoral students in its first two cohorts of Public School Research Scholars. These Research Scholars are engaged in studies in CREATE universities throughout the state, including Texas A&M University,Texas Tech University,Texas State University, The University of Houston, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Dallas, and Our Lady of the Lake. All Public School Research Scholars are current or former employees of Texas school districts, including Birdville, Dallas, Fort Worth, Harlingen, Houston, Klein, and Sundown; as well as professional staff at TASA. From these initial cohorts, CREATE has received four committeeapproved dissertation proposals to date, and has awarded two research implementation grants for approved research. More proposals

are in the committee approval process and anticipated in the upcoming months. All in all, we deem this a successful beginning for a novel new research program, with a track record that will be further bolstered as these Research Scholars continue to navigate the committee approval processes in their respective universities. Thus, as we approach the third year anniversary of its inception, TPSRN is “up and running” as a unique venue for research collaboration between Texas schools and universities. TPSRN’s research teams are making positive and meaningful contributions to the educational interests of

the state, and we urge present members of TPSRN to stay alert as to current and future research opportunities related to teacher quality. We also urge district leaders who may have an interest in joining and working with the Network’s ongoing research agenda to contact us, as we welcome broader district participation. Finally, we encourage superintendents to consider nominating talented teachers or administrators for future cohorts of the Public School Research Scholars Program. Working together over the long haul, Texas districts and CREATE universities can positively influence the scope and character of research on teacher quality and effectiveness in Texas schools. n

William Reaves is co-director of the Texas Public Schools Research Network, CREATE; and Sherri Lowrey is director of research, CREATE.

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Understanding the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators by David P. Thompson and JoAnn Klinker One of the characteristics of a profession is adherence of its members to a professional code of ethics (see, e.g., Freeman, 2000). This is no less true in the teaching/education profession, and today Texas is no exception to the rule. While it is true that as early as 1905 the Texas Legislature gave the State Superintendent of Public Instruction the authority to cancel the teaching certificate of a person who was deemed to have conducted “school in violation of the laws of the state,” or who was “unworthy to instruct or supervise the youth of this state” (Robinson v. Herbert, 2000), it has been less than 40 years since the Legislature directed the establishment of a code of ethics for the education profession. The purpose of this article is to examine the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators (hereafter referred to as the Educators’ Code of Ethics, or ECE). In this examination, the following topics will be covered: (1) history of the ECE, (2) the stated purpose of the ECE and the standards of ethical conduct themselves, (3) enforcement of and sanctions for violating the ECE, (4) quasi-judicial decisions involving the ECE, and (5) prospective changes to the ECE.

History of the Educators’ Code of Ethics As noted above, in 1971 the Texas Legislature directed the establishment of the first ECE by creating the Professional Practices Commission (PPC) and charging it with developing and adopting “a code of ethics and standard practices ‘to govern the conduct of members of the profession’” (Tex. Educ. Code § 13.210 [a], 1971).At the inception of the original ECE, only an educator could file a complaint against another educator, and the basic role of the PPC was to hear complaints and make recommendations to the commissioner of education, and ultimately the state board of education, on a course of action regarding a complaint (Tex. Educ. Code § 13.213 [b] & [c], 1971. Also, at that time, a contested case could ultimately wind its way into the state court system (Tex. Educ. Code § 13.214 [b], 1971). The means for enforcing the ECE remained largely unchanged until 1993, when the Legislature abolished the PPC (HB 2585, 73rd Texas Legislature), but left unchanged those provisions of the education code that required the PPC to enforce the ECE. As a result, many ethics complaints were dismissed because PPC had been abolished until then-Attorney General Dan Morales (DM-290, 1994) opined that the ECE still existed and that the commissioner of education was authorized to hear ethics complaints. This situation was straightened out with the passage of Senate Bill 1 (1995) by the 74th Texas Legislature, which established the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.031, 1995) and directed SBEC by November 1, 1997, to propose rules that “provide for the adoption, amendment, and enforcement of an educators’ code of ethics” (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.041 (b)(8), 1995). However, during this period of transition between 1995 and 1997, the commissioner of education concluded that the office did not have the authority to enforce the ECE, so complaints went unaddressed for several years. As part of its work, SBEC also established enforcement rules for the ECE, and those rules were found in Chapter 249, Subchapter F, of the Texas Administrative Code. The ECE developed by SBEC differed very little from the PPC-adopted ECE, and became effective on March 1, 1998. In 2002, SBEC adopted what is the current version of the ECE (19 T.A.C. § 247.2, 2002) and, in so doing,

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reduced the number of ethical principles Principle 1. Professional Ethical Conduct, from five to three, reduced the number Practices and Performance. of standards from 29 to 22, and reiterated Standard 1.1. The educator shall not that the ECE remained enforceable. knowingly engage in deceptive practices Finally, in 2007, reeling from what had regarding official policies of the school become a “cumbersome and inefficient” district or educational institution. means of enforcing the ECE, SBEC, now operating under the aegis of the Texas Standard 1.2. The educator shall Education Agency, repealed the Chapter not knowingly misappropriate, divert, 249, Subchapter F enforcement rules for or use monies, personnel, property, or the ECE, folding enforcement of the ECE equipment committed to his or her into the Title 19, Chapter 249, Subchapter charge for personal gain or advantage. B enforcement rules for educator discipline general (32 Tex. Reg. 5607). Standard 1.3. The educator shall not submit fraudulent requests for Purpose of and Ethical reimbursement, expenses, or pay. Standards in Educators’ Code of


Like other professional codes of ethics, the Texas ECE begins with a statement of purpose that seeks to outline in positive terms conduct that is expected of Texas educators. Specifically, the purpose states: The Texas educator shall comply with standard practices and ethical conduct toward students, professional colleagues, school officials, parents, and members of the community and shall safeguard academic freedom. The Texas educator, in maintaining the dignity of the profession, shall respect and obey the law, demonstrate personal integrity, and exemplify honesty. The Texas educator, in exemplifying ethical relations with colleagues, shall extend just and equitable treatment to all members of the profession. The Texas educator, in accepting a position of public trust, shall measure success by the progress of each student toward realization of his or her potential as an effective citizen. The Texas educator, in fulfilling responsibilities in the community, shall cooperate with parents and others to improve the public schools of the community. (19 Tex. Admin. Code § 247.2 [a]). The second part of the ECE elaborates on 22 enforceable standards, divided into three major principles. These principles and their respective standards are noted below.

Standard 1.4. The educator shall not use institutional or professional privileges for personal or partisan advantage. Standard 1.5. The educator shall neither accept nor offer gratuities, gifts, or favors that impair professional judgment or to obtain special advantage. This standard shall not restrict the acceptance of gifts or tokens offered and accepted openly from students, parents, or other persons or organizations in recognition or appreciation of service. Standard 1.6. The educator shall not falsify records, or direct or coerce others to do so. Standard 1.7. The educator shall comply with state regulations, written local school board policies, and other applicable state and federal laws. Standard 1.8. The educator shall apply for, accept, offer, or assign a position or a responsibility on the basis of professional qualifications. Principle 2. Ethical Conduct Toward Professional Colleagues. Standard 2.1. The educator shall not reveal confidential health or personnel

information concerning colleagues unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law. Standard 2.2. The educator shall not harm others by knowingly making false statements about a colleague or the school system. Standard 2.3. The educator shall adhere to written local school board policies and state and federal laws regarding the hiring, evaluation, and dismissal of personnel. Standard 2.4. The educator shall not interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political, professional, or citizenship rights and responsibilities. Standard 2.5. The educator shall not discriminate against or coerce a colleague on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, or family status. Standard 2.6. The educator shall not use coercive means or promise of special treatment in order to influence professional decisions or colleagues. Standard 2.7. The educator shall not retaliate against any individual who has filed a complaint with the SBEC under this chapter. Principle 3. Ethical Conduct Toward Students. Standard 3.1. The educator shall not reveal confidential information concerning students unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law. Standard 3.2. The educator shall not knowingly treat a student in a manner that adversely affects the student’s learning, physical health, mental health, or safety. Standard 3.3. The educator shall not deliberately or knowingly misrepresent facts regarding a student.

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Standard 3.4. The educator shall not exclude a student from participation in a program, deny benefits to a student, or grant an advantage to a student on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, national origin, religion, or family status. Standard 3.5. The educator shall not engage in physical mistreatment of a student. Standard 3.6. The educator shall not solicit or engage in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student. Standard 3.7. The educator shall not furnish alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any student or knowingly allow any student to consume alcohol or illegal/ unauthorized drugs in the presence of the educator. (19 Tex.Admin. Code § 247.2) As can be seen, unlike the statement of purpose, which defines in positive terms the conduct expected of an educator, nearly all of the 22 standards are written as prohibitions on educator conduct.

Enforcement of Educators’ Code of Ethics The enforcement of the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics takes generally two forms. The first form of enforcement is direct, meaning that complaints made to TEA/ SBEC can result in adverse actions taken by TEA/SBEC against an educator’s certificate. The second form of enforcement is indirect, meaning that school districts may take adverse actions against the employment contracts of an educator whose conduct violates, among other things, the ECE, if the school district incorporates the ECE into its employment policies. For example, most Texas districts using the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) policy service make clear that violation of employee standards of conduct, including the ECE, can result in disciplinary action up to termination of employment (see generally TASB policy series DH [Legal, Local, and Exhibit]).



With regard to direct enforcement of the ECE, since the 2007 repeal of the ECE Chapter 249, Subchapter F enforcement rules, enforcement of the ECE is now governed by 19 Tex. Admin. Code §§ 249.14–15. The complaint process is fully elaborated in Klinker, Thompson, and Blacker (2010), and includes information on complaint receipt, review, the “red folder” process (p. 92), and sanctions and hearings. In general, when TEA/SBEC accepts a complaint for investigation regarding the alleged misconduct of an educator, including allegations that an educator has violated the ECE, it assigns one of two priorities to the complaint “based on the severity and immediacy of the allegations and the likelihood of harm posed by the subject of the investigation”(19 Tex. Admin. Code § 249.14 [g]). Priority 1 misconduct is conduct “that indicate[s] a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of a student or minor, parent of a student, fellow employee, or professional colleague…” (19 Tex. Admin. Code § 249.14 [g] [1]), and includes a non-exhaustive list of 12 types of serious misconduct. With regard to the ECE, many allegations of misconduct falling under Principle 3 (e.g., physical or sexual misconduct with a student, furnishing drugs or alcohol to a student) would result in a priority 1 investigation; as would conduct that amounts to a “serious testing violation” (as defined in 19 Tex. Admin. Code § 249.14 [g][4]) or “certificate fraud,” both of which have been found to violate ECE Standard 1.6 (falsifying records). Priority 2 misconduct, in contrast, is conduct that is obviously less serious in nature, and includes codes of ethics violations that do not reach into priority 1 misconduct. As part of the Chapter 249 educator discipline rules, when TEA/SBEC receives complaints involving Priority 1 misconduct, including ECE violations, against an educator relating to conduct that relates to a student or a minor,TEA/SBEC will place an investigative notice on the educator’s certificate indicating that the educator is currently under investigation (19 Tex.

Admin. Code § 249.14 [h]). Further, TEA/ SBEC may place an investigative notice on an educator’s certificate for Priority 1 misconduct that relates to a non-student or –minor (19 Tex. Admin. Code § 249.14 [h]); however, an investigative notice will not be placed on an educator’s certificate for Priority 2 misconduct (19 Tex. Admin. Code § 249.14 [h]). While the procedures for administering investigative notices are beyond the scope of this article, they are found at 19 Tex. Admin. Code §§ 249.14 [i] – [k]. As noted in Klinker et al. (2010), the goal of TEA/SBEC in the investigative process is to reach a settlement of the complaint with the educator that may include, but is not limited to, the voluntary permanent surrender of the educator’s certificate. However, if a case is contested by the educator, it can ultimately be heard by an administrative law judge of the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The ALJ will hear the case and issue findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommendation of proposed relief back to SBEC for its action. SOAH Proposals for Decision can be searched at the SOAH Web site found at http://www.soah.state. (last accessed October 18, 2010). The decision to take an adverse action against an educator’s certificate for misconduct, including ECE violations, is ultimately made by SBEC, and SBEC may take any of the following actions against an educator’s certificate for misconduct that violates the educators’ code of ethics (in addition to other reasons elaborated in 19 Tex.Admin. Code §249.15 [b]). Specifically, SBEC may: 1. place restrictions on the issuance, renewal, or holding of a certificate, either indefinitely or for a set term; 2. issue an inscribed or non-inscribed reprimand;

3. suspend a certificate for a set term or issue a probated suspension for a set term; 4. revoke or cancel, which includes accepting the surrender of, a certificate without opportunity for reapplication for a set term or permanently; or

17, 2010). Klinker et al. (2010) provide a host of illustrative examples of quasi-judicial law concerning the ECE across all three current ethical principles.

Proposed Changes to the Educators’ Code of Ethics

On October 8, 2010, the State Board for Educator Certification adopted amendments 5. impose any additional conditions or to 19 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 247 restrictions upon a certificate that the (Educators’ Code of Ethics) and 19 Tex. SBEC deems necessary to facilitate Admin. Code Chapter 249 (Disciplinary the rehabilitation and professional Proceedings, Sanctions, and Contested development of the educator or to Cases). The proposed amendments were protect students, parents of students, posted at 35 Tex. Reg. 8039 (Sept. 3, 2010) and, after a period of public comment, the school personnel, or school officials. amendments were modified and adopted in early October. Because the amendments can Quasi-Judicial Decisions Published decisions (or proposals for be changed and must be finally approved decisions) involving alleged violations by the State Board of Education, the of the Educators’ Code of Ethics can be earliest possible approval date for a revised located based on the means used to enforce ECE is November 2010. Included among the ECE. For direct enforcement of the the SBEC-adopted amendments are the ECE, i.e., actions taken by TEA/SBEC following: against educators’ certificates, published proposals for decisions can be searched The ECE is now explicitly applicable to at the SOAH Web site noted above. For both certificate holders and candidates for indirect enforcement of the ECE, i.e., certification (adopted 19 Tex. Admin. Code actions taken by school districts against § 247.1 [b]). educators’ contracts, there are two categories of quasi-judicial decisions: (1) local hearing Chapter 249 Disciplinary Proceedings, officer decisions and (2) Commissioner of Sanctions, and Contested Case rules are Education decisions. Local hearing officer now explicitly provided as the means for decisions are issued by TEA-appointed enforcing the ECE (adopted 19 Tex.Admin. hearing officers who hear educator appeals Code § 247.1 [c]). of most adverse employment actions taken by school districts against educators’ While the number of ethical principles contracts (with the exception of termination remains constant at three, the number of of probationary contracts and non-renewal standards has reverted back to 29, with of term contracts where the school board the addition of five standards to Principle elects to conduct its own hearing process). 1 (Professional Ethical Conduct, Practices, Commissioner of Education decisions are and Performance), and the addition of two issued when an aggrieved educator appeals standards to Principle 3 (Ethical Conduct an adverse contract action beyond the school Toward Students). The two proposed board. Local hearing officer decisions are standards under Principle 3 address the published by TEA at the following Web site: educator maintaining appropriate-educator student relationships (adopted 19 Tex. index.html (last accessed October 17, 2010); Admin. Code § 247.2 [3] [H]) and the Commissioner of Education decisions are educator refraining from “inappropriate published by TEA at http://ritter.tea.state. communication with a student or minor, (last accessed October including, but not limited to, electronic

communication such as cell phone, text messaging, email, instant messaging, blogging, or other social network communication…” (adopted 19 Tex. Admin. Code § 247.2 [3] [I]).

Conclusion It is the authors’ view that, in spite of the best efforts of many to otherwise instruct, many Texas educators and most Texas teachers remain blissfully unaware of the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics and that it is an enforceable part of statutory and administrative law that affects educators on a daily basis. We hope that this article will bring the ECE, and particularly the proposed changes to the ECE that acknowledge technological advances in communication, back into the spotlight as public P–12 educators seek to enhance their status as members of the most honorable of professions. n

David P. Thompson, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio; JoAnn Klinker, Ph.D., is associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership at Texas Tech University.

References Freeman, N. K. (2000). Professional ethics: A cornerstone of teachers’ preservice curriculum. Action in Teacher Education, 22 (3), 12-18. Klinker, J., Thompson, D. P., & Blacker, D. J. (2010). Professional responsibility for educators and the Texas code of ethics. Bulverde, TX: Omni Publishers (www. Robinson v. Herbert, Dkt. No. 059-TTC1196 (Comm’r of Educ. 2000).

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TSPRA VOICE TASA joins TSPRA in supporting the critical role of public information and communications professionals in Texas public schools.

Oh,Yes, Even You Can Be a Fundraiser: How Education Foundations for Public School Districts Are Going Mainstream by Larry Goddard It used to be a dirty word. Fundraising. Chills, fever, and eye rolling are obvious reactions when asked to fundraise.Thoughts of cookie dough sales, concession stand booths, candles, gift wrapping—you name it, public schools have sold it and auctioned it, and usually it is Mom and Dad who buy the whole minimum amount so their child can get a 25-cent goodie prize. How times have changed. Education donations (not sales!) result in billions of dollars given to education every year. (Religion donations are number one in the United States.) And, it’s not huge corporations or foundations making the gifts. It is individuals, folks like you and me, who believe in the transformational power of public education. History, as we know, shows that public higher institutions created university advancement teams of public relations, communications, fundraising, alumni associations, and electronic media in the 1970s and ’80s. Following suit, junior and community colleges began their drive for endowments and alumni prospecting in the 1990s and the first part of the new millennium. Since 2005, the growth of education foundations for public K–12 school districts is mind-boggling, but makes more sense than anyone ever realized. No longer can school administrators and school board trustees sit back and wait for the check to run the district to come from the state capitol. With federal, state, and salary mandates, the amount of discretionary dollars have dwindled.And the discretionary budget dollars are how innovative and creative programs have always been developed on the grassroots level.



An education foundation is a nonprofit organization (assigned a 501c3 status by the Internal Revenue Service) with the sole intention of serving its donors and supporting the school district. More and more, the goal of an education foundation is to match the district’s discretionary budget. Certainly, we realize it would be record setting for an education foundation to ever match a district’s annual budget— but when your perspective is to match the discretionary amount, the realistic attributes of a foundation become clearly defined.

by a few community individuals only to fold when those individuals lost interest or moved away. The secret is to always recruit leaders in the community year after year who have a strong belief that the best investment for the future of their community is a strong and successful public school system.

Employers, economic development specialists, civic leaders, and public officials are all prime stakeholders in education foundations. The mission and programs of education foundations can vary to meet the needs of the community. It seems the In addition, many districts use their education majority of education foundations support foundation to create scholarship funds or grants for teachers, teams of teachers, permanent endowments (with just the campuses, and the district. Given on a interest earnings disbursed for scholarships). competitive objective basis, these grants And many education foundations partner can range within any amounts to create with community foundations or regional classroom projects or districtwide pilot foundations to provide the trust department programs. services for endowments. The sophistication level of an education More and more resources—training for foundation comes from the leadership staff and board directors, software programs, of the board. As the competition for certification programs, publications, and donations increases, the donors will seek associations—are popping up across the more secure and impressive nonprofit United States to provide knowledge for organizations in which to invest. So often, successful creation and certain sustaining public school education foundations lose of education foundations. So often in Texas focus: the donor’s intention of the gift is of we have seen education foundations created utmost importance. The credibility of the

organization is defined by the reputation of the foundation. By its name alone, the foundation is a steady, reliant base. The community’s opinion of the district may ebb and flow continually— but the education foundation must remain steady and credible. Training on how to make an “ask” for money, the responsibilities of a board director, the management of gifts, the investment of foundation assets, the board’s manual of duties and policies, and the office procedures are all important to the success of the education foundation. Association memberships/conferences are vital links to the rewards of a district’s foundation and the proper conduct of a nonprofit education foundation. So, yes, even YOU and your district can be effective fundraisers and counted among a growing list of successful, innovative districts of Texas public schools. n

Larry Goddard, Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), is executive director of the Tyler ISD Foundation and recipient of this year’s TSPRA Key Communicator Award.

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Legal Insights Superintendents and Nepotism under the Texas Education Code: Avoiding the “Brother-in-Law” Deal In 2007, the Texas Legislature, purportedly in response to “an increasing number of complaints concerning school board members and school district superintendents” and to specify the “state’s expectations of the roles and responsibilities of superintendents and the boards of trustees of independent school districts,” passed legislation that changed how the Texas nepotism laws apply to superintendents. See House Resource Organization, Bill Analysis, Tex. H.B. 2563, 80th Leg. (2007). One of the stated purposes of HB 2563 was to “clarify the precise roles of and relationship between district school boards and superintendents.” Id.

of the board, legislature, or court by blood within the third degree1 or by marriage within the second degree.2 Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §§573.002, 573.041 (Vernon 2004). This prohibition does not apply to a related

According to the Texas Government Code (“Government Code”), a public official cannot “appoint, confirm the appointment of, or vote for the appointment or confirmation of the appointment of an individual” to a position that is compensated, whether directly or indirectly, from public funds if either (1) the individual is related to the public official; or (2) the public official “holds the appointment or confirmation authority as a member of a state or local board, the legislature, or a court” and the individual is related to another member

marriage within the second degree if the public



1 For example, an individual is related to the public official by blood within the third degree if the public official is the individual’s parent or child (first degree); grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother (second degree); or a greatgrandparent, great-grandchild, aunt, uncle,

individual who falls within the scope of the “continuous employment” exception to the nepotism law. Id. at §573.026. Specifically, the nepotism prohibition does not apply to a related individual who was employed by the district a specified time before the election or appointment of the public official. Id. In that regard, the related individual’s prior employment must be continuous for at least thirty (30) days if the public official is appointed or six (6) months if the public official is elected. Id.

niece, or nephew (third degree). Tex. Gov’t

Code Ann. §§573.022, 573.023 (Vernon 2004). In 2003, the Texas Attorney General 2 An individual is related to the public official by official’s spouse is the prospective employee (first degree); or if the public official’s spouse is the prospective employee’s parent or child (first degree) or grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother (second degree). The marriage prohibition also applies if the prospective employee’s spouse is the public official’s parent or child (first degree) or grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother (second degree). Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §§573.024, 573.025 (Vernon 2004).

(“Attorney General”) opined that, under the nepotism law then in place, “a member of a school board that has delegated to the superintendent final authority for personnel selection is not a public official with appointment authority for purposes of section 573.041 [of the Government Code].” Tex.Att’y Gen. Op. GA-0123 (2003) at p. 3. Therefore, the Attorney General concluded that a superintendent could employ the relative of a school board member if the superintendent had been delegated final authority to select personnel. Id.

The Legislature amended the Texas Education Code (“Education Code”) in 2007 to expressly provide that, if a school district board of trustees delegates to the superintendent, via an employment policy, the “final authority to select district personnel,” a superintendent is a “public official” for purposes of the Government Code only with respect to a decision made by the superintendent under the board’s delegation of such authority. Tex. Educ. Code Ann. §11.1513(f) (Vernon Supp. 2010); See also Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. GA-0794 (2010). Further, the Legislature expressly provided that each member of the board of trustees “remains subject to [the Government Code] with respect to all district employees.” Id. In other words, the board of trustees cannot avoid the restrictions set forth in the Texas nepotism law by delegating its final authority to select district personnel to the superintendent.As a general rule, a school district, either through its board of trustees or superintendent to whom final authority to select personnel is delegated, is prohibited from employing relatives of the school board.3 However, to the extent the school board has retained hiring authority, the superintendent is simply an employee or agent of the school district and is not a public official subject to the nepotism statutes. See Pena v. Rio Grande Consolidated School District, 616 S.W.2d 658 (Tex.Civ.App.- Eastland 1981, no writ). In 2009, the Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) asked the Attorney General to answer essentially two (2) questions relating to effect of the amendment to the Education Code on superintendents,

to wit: (1) Whether, after the enactment of section 11.1513(f) of the Education Code, a superintendent “to whom final selection of personnel is delegated continues to have the discretion to employ persons related to board members as concluded in GA-0123;” and (2) if section 11.1513(f) does restrain the superintendent from hiring certain relatives of board members, whether “a violation of that restriction subjects the superintendent to penalties” under the Government Code for violating the nepotism law.4 RQ-0842GA, pp. 1–2 (2009).

whom final authority to select personnel is delegated and who hires a relative of a board member must be removed from office and will be subject to the criminal penalties imposed by the Government Code. Id. at pp. 5–6. The Attorney General refused to opine on that issue because a superintendent could read section 11.1513(f)(2) of the Education Code and the applicable provisions of the Government Code and “reasonably conclude” that such provisions do not apply to the superintendent since a superintendent does not hold “appointment or confirmation authority as a member of a In response to the Commissioner’s request, state or local board.” Id. Instead, the Attorney the Attorney General opined that, absent General expressly left the resolution of that a statutory exception, a superintendent issue to the Legislature. Id. at p. 6. who has been delegated final authority for personnel selection cannot employ In summary, as a general rule, a school individuals related to a board member within district that does not fall within the statutory the degrees described in the Government exception is prohibited from hiring close relatives of school board members, regardless of who has final authority over the hiring “…as a general rule, a school decisions. However, as the Attorney General district that does not fall noted in his 2010 opinion, it is unclear whether a superintendent who violates this within the statutory exception prohibition must be removed from office or is prohibited from hiring is subject to the criminal penalties imposed close relatives of school board by the Government Code.

members, regardless of who has final authority over the hiring decisions.” Code.Tex.Att’y Gen. Op. GA-0794 (2010), pp. 3–4. However, due to a perceived lack of clarity in the amendments to the Education Code, the Attorney General declined to address whether a superintendent to 4 The Government Code imposes criminal

Epilogue: Expectations of Privacy in Government-Funded Technology In the Summer 2010 edition of INSIGHT, Legal Insights discussed whether certain personal electronic communications are subject to the Texas Public Information Act.5 The article referred to a case pending in the United States Supreme Court, City of Ontario, California v. Quon (originally styled in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as Quon v. Arch Wireless Operating Co., Inc.) in which the Court was considering whether a government employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy in personal text

3 The only permitted statutory exceptions to

penalties on public officials who violate the

the amendments to the Education Code are

nepotism law. Specifically, a person who

if the school district is located “wholly in a

violates the nepotism provisions shall be

county with a population of less than 35,000”;

removed from their position and commits an

or districts located “in more than one county, if

offense involving “official misconduct,” which

the county in which the largest portion of the

is a misdemeanor punishable by fine up to

district territory is located has a population of

5 INSIGHT, Legal Insights, Personal Electronic

$1,000. Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §§573.081,

less than 35,000.” Id.

Communications and the Texas Public Information

573.084 (Vernon 2004).

Act: Will the Public Get the Message? at p. 45 (Summer 2010).

winter 2010


messages sent and received using a government-issued device. On June 17, 2010, the Court unanimously held that, although the employee arguably had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text messages on his employer-provided pager, the employer’s inspection of the pager did not violate the Fourth Amendment when the employer had a legitimate work-related reason for the search (i.e., to determine if the overage charges for text messages exceeding the monthly allotment were primarily business-related or personal) and the search was not excessively intrusive in light of that justification. City of Ontario, California v. Quon, 130 S.Ct. 2619, 177 L. Ed. 2d 216 (2010). The Supreme Court did not define how extensive an employee’s expectation of privacy may be with respect to employersupplied devices. The Court assumed that Quon had a reasonable expectation of privacy, but still upheld the employer’s search. Until the Supreme Court further defines the scope of an employee’s expectation or privacy, school district administrators should ensure that district employees who use employer-supplied devices understand the guidelines and restrictions for using such devices and the circumstances under which an employer might review the employee’s use of the devices. n

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Specific questions and circumstances regarding the issues addressed in this article should be individually discussed with legal counsel. Neal W.Adams Jerry D. Bullard Allan S. Graves Adams, Lynch & Loftin, P.C. General Counsel Texas Association of School Administrators




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Richard Middleton Texas’ Nominee for 2011 AASA Superintendent of the Year by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo

North East ISD’s Dr. Richard Middleton will represent Texas in the American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year Program. Now in its 24th year, the program pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools. Richard Middleton has led North East for the past two decades. He’s guided the district through a time of unprecedented growth, as well as a shift from a suburban district to what Middleton has dubbed “the new urban.” North East is a district of haves and have-nots – it’s a majority minority district with roughly 40 percent of students classified as economically disadvantaged. But it’s also home to some of San Antonio’s most upscale neighborhoods. Balancing the needs and concerns of such a diverse group is a challenge, Middleton says. He’s made equity a theme in recent bond issues, renovating older schools in low-income neighborhoods at the same time the district builds new schools in growing, affluent sections of the district. “We have the reputation and look of being suburban, but no more,” Middleton said. “It’s complex to deal with. You need to drive resources to kids in poverty but also offer the enrichment your parents expect in other parts of the district.That’s why every time we’ve built new schools we handcuff them to updating older schools. We’ve got a lot done, but we’ve got a lot more to do.” Middleton is known as a leader across the state and is often called upon by the lawmakers for his expertise in school finance and accountability issues. He currently serves on the Select Committee on School Finance,Weights and Allotments. Dr. Middleton’s most recent focus has been health and wellness issues for his students and employees. His district has developed innovative health courses that cover not only physical fitness but also nutrition.Teachers are encouraged to incorporate health initiatives into every course.As a result, students are up and moving more than ever before. “Movement is key to delivering instruction,” Middleton said. “So instead of just running around a track, we’re also incorporating sophisticated movements in a class. They’re called brain breaks.Teachers are telling me all the time that both they and their students feel more invigorated.”



Dr. Middleton with STEM Academy Student Ambassador Jocelyn Hernandez-Vazquez (standing) discuss the French and Indian War with Edgar Guajardo-Moreno (sitting).

The health initiative includes a massive asthma awareness program and a focus on indoor air quality. Middleton also made sure certified nurses at each school are equipped with laptop computers to keep health records on students. As the district’s number of low-income students increased, Middleton said he realized health would be a key issue. He’s also increased the number of family specialists in the district to make sure families are getting the wrap-around services they need. “As we began to see more cases of poverty, we were getting loads of anecdotal evidence about school nurses being the primary care provider for our kids,” Middleton said. “Five years ago, we said if our kids are going to come to school and be attentive, we have to address these issues.” Middleton said the focus is paying off with increased attendance and academic performance. In 2010, 87 percent of North East campuses were rated exemplary or recognized by the state, and the district was rated recognized for the third year in a row.

Dr. Middleton celebrates the Madison AMP groundbreaking with board members (left to right) Randy Bristow, Beth Plummer (president), Sandy Hughey (secretary), and Susan Galindo (vice president).

Also in 2010, Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation & Dance awarded Middleton its Distinguished Service Citation Award for his focus on physical fitness and health in schools, and H-E-B named North East the district of the year in its Excellence in Education Awards large district category.

For the AASA National Superintendent award, a national blue-ribbon panel will select four finalists from eligible state superintendents of the year. The panel will interview the finalists in Washington, D.C., to select the AASA National Superintendent of theYear, and the winner will be announced at the AASA National Conference in February. n

Good luck from TASA, Dr. Middleton!

Jenny LaCoste-Caputo is director of Communications and Media Relations at TASA.

winter 2010


Los Fresnos CISD Winner of TASA’s 2010 Outstanding School Board Award by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo The board of trustees from Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District was named the 2010 Outstanding School Board during the TASA/TASB Convention in September. Los Fresnos was chosen from five statewide Honor School Boards who interviewed with a TASA committee made up of 11 superintendents from across the state. “We were all so excited,” said board president Rey Farias, who accepted the award flanked by his fellow board members. Some were crying, caught up in the emotion of the moment. “I think it’s a wonderful thing TASA does to recognize school boards and the hard work we do. I know the other school boards were as worthy as we were.” Deborah Cron, superintendent of Weatherford ISD, chaired the selection committee. Weatherford won the 2009 Outstanding School Board Award. Cron said all five boards are stellar and deserve recognition. Los Fresnos, she said, impressed the selection committee with its high expectations for students and commitment to providing students with the tools they need to succeed, such as bus transportation for students to attend tutoring sessions outside the school day. Los Fresnos, a district of about 9,600 students in the Rio Grande Valley, serves a population that is 95 percent Hispanic and nearly 80 percent economically disadvantaged. In 2010, the Texas Education Agency rated 11 of Los Fresnos’ 13 traditional schools exemplary.The other two, a middle school and the district’s high school, were rated recognized. “A great working relationship among the board members and between the board members and superintendent was also apparent,” Cron said.

winter 2010


Farias said that relationship is no accident. The Los Fresnos board makes a point of “discussing not debating,” he said, and works on building trust and teamwork. Farias also said the board doesn’t micromanage and gives its superintendent, Gonzalo Salazar, the latitude to do his job. “We listen to our administrators.They’re the ones that are on the front lines, so they know the needs of the schools,” Farias said. “At the same time, they’re very good with providing us with what we need, which is information to make the right decisions.” Los Fresnos was competing against four other Honor Boards: Burkburnett ISD; Humble ISD; Pampa ISD; and Pflugerville ISD. “The five boards we interviewed represent the best in Texas,” Cron said. “Each of them showed integrity and focus and a real understanding of the role of school boards in Texas to set policy and provide oversight for our districts.” n

TASA Honor Boards at the 2010 TASA/TASB Convention in Houston. Pampa ISD, Humble ISD, Burkburnett ISD, Los Fresnos CISD, and Pflugerville ISD

Jenny LaCoste-Caputo is director of Communications and Media Relations at TASA.


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INSIGHT SCE100026 EL Insight.indd 1

10/18/10 11:05 AM

TASA 2011 Winter/Spring Calendar January 2011 12

Budget Boot Camp

Region 11, Fort Worth, TX


Leadership Development Process

Jody Westbrook

Region 18, Midland, TX


Leadership Development Process

Jody Westbrook

Hawkins ISD, Hawkins, TX


Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE) Annual Conference

Hilton Austin Hotel, Austin, TX

30- Feb 2

Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Midwinter Conference

Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX

February 2011 2

Aspiring Superintendents Academy

Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX


Leadership Development Process

Jody Westbrook

TASA Headquarters, Austin, TX


American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Conference on Education

22-23 First-Time Superintendents Academy, Session 3 Experts in the Field

Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO Austin Marriott North Hotel, Round Rock, TX

March 2011 8-11

Level II Curriculum Management Audit Training

Jan Jacob

TASA Headquarters, Austin, TX


Leadership Development Process

Jody Westbrook

TASA Headquarters, Austin, TX

April 2011 13-14 First-Time Superintendents Academy, Session 4 Experts in the Field

Austin Marriott North Hotel, Round Rock, TX


Lakeway Resort, Lakeway, TX

Texas Association of Suburban and Mid-Urban Schools (TAS/MUS) Spring Conference

May 2011 2-3

50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

Elizabeth Clark

TASA Headquarters, Austin, TX


Level I Curriculum Management Audit Training

Jan Jacob

TASA Headquarters, Austin, TX

winter 2010



Conference &

Education Expo

Where Education Leadership Teams Re-Energize and Gain New Perspectives! TASA’s Midwinter Conference will address the complex challenges you and your team face today—from budgeting and funding—to assessment and accountability—to transformation and accelerated achievement.

Two ways to begin strategizing NOW for this important event! n Review

the upcoming electronic version of the conference program book posted soon to TASAnet.This searchable, interactive book will give you a head start on planning your conference schedule, as well as provide live links to related resources such as exhibitors.

n Download

our exciting NEW “Follow Me” smartphone app (see back cover for details).

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Inspiring General Session Speakers

n Chip Heath, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School

of Business, Stanford University, and Co-Author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

The revelation of a simple, three-part framework that will help us change things in tough times, whether the change we seek is at work, at home, or in society. n Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, Texas Education Agency

Looking Forward to 2011, 2012, and 2013

A discussion of future directions for the state’s education system, as well as expectations for students, campuses, and districts to meet significantly higher performance expectations in 2012. n Jim Popham, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Education

and Information Studies, UCLA; Rick Stiggins, Author and Founder, Assessment Training Institute, Pearson; and Phil Schlechty, CEO and Founder, Schlechty Center Creating Balanced, Instructionally Sensitive Assessment Systems

An engaging conversation that tackles the weighty issues of highstakes assessments and the need for balanced, instructionally sensitive assessment systems.

Plan Your Conference in Advance! Use the “Follow Me” app or online interactive program to find full descriptions in searchable format of timely and targeted breakout sessions, including:

Distinguished Lecturers John Draper, Executive Director, Educational Research Service Crucial Conversations about America’s Schools: Good News for School Leaders


School Finance in the 82nd Legislative Session


Politics and Planning in a Divided Community


Beyond Payroll and Purchase Orders


Communication in Real Time


Bully Prevention and 15 Days of Caring


Bond, Sweat, and Tears: Facility Improvements within a Budget

Steve Dembo, Online Community Manager, Discovery Education


Exemplary Bound…RTI Can Pave the Way


Data Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness and Student Achievement

Learning to Speak Native: How Education Is Being Transformed in 140 Characters or Less


Online College Preparation Assistance Pilot Program

Margarita Calderón, Professor Emerita and Senior Research Scientist, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University


Academic Success through Effective Master Scheduling and Technology Integration

What Is Quality Instruction for ELs? Fifth-Year Results from K–12 Programs


“5 Plays” to a High Performing District


Accelerated Learning and Spiraled Instruction: A Journey from Obscurity to Success

PLUS… Even More Opportunities to Explore… Gain… Interact… Learn! ➤ Education Expo—explore

the searchable exhibitor directory that features hundreds of vendors! Get the most out of this one-stop shopping experience by creating a customized exhibit list and assigning each team member to explore a particular specialty!

➤ Showcase of School Architecture—gain

insights for your district schools by visiting the exciting displays that recognize architectural firms for excellence in planning and design for new construction and/or renovation projects in Texas!

➤ TASA’s Cyber Café—interact

with cyber representatives in hands-on demonstrations of how education leaders are transforming classrooms into centers of interactive learning!

Yong Zhao, Distinguished Professor, College of Education, Michigan State University

Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization

Fenwick English, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Educational Leader, and Author Leadership as Lunacy: Deconstructing the Major Metaphors for Educational Leadership

Christopher Lloyd, Author, What on Earth Happened?: The

Complete Story of the Planet, Life, and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day

21st Century Synthesis—Mixing Science and History to Create a Whole New Mind

Todd Whitthorne, President and CEO, Cooper Concepts, Inc. Healthy Living: Your Links to Personal and Professional Success!

Bill Poston, Professor Emeritus, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Iowa State University School Budgeting in Hard Times: Confronting Cutbacks and Critics

Paul Zientarski, Department Chair and Coordinator, Learning Readiness PE, Naperville (IL) Community School District Move and Learn! Naperville Central High School’s Learning Readiness PE Program

Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education,Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Generation Texas: How Schools, Colleges, and Universities Can Work Together to Create a Greater Texas

➤ Aspiring Superintendents Academy—learn


what it means to become the top educational leader in a school district and become part of a virtual community for those who aspire to become superintendents!

January 30–February 2, 2011



Texas Association of School Administrators Member Services and Benefits

TASA Accountability Forum


The complexity of the state’s accountability system continues to increase, even before the new system authorized by House Bill 3 comes online in 2012, and standards are on the rise while state and local resources appear more limited. In addition, this summer the comptroller will release the first-ever results from an independent accountability system that will rank districts and campuses based on a combination of never-before-seen academic and fiscal performance measures. These are just a few examples of the many changes associated with House Bill 3 that district leaders must manage. The TASA Accountability Forum, offered by TASA in cooperation with Moak, Casey & Associates, is a unique subscription service designed to assist superintendents and other school leaders in managing implementation of House Bill 3 and other accountability issues. Forum subscribers benefit from a built-in network of expert advisors—including Dr. Maria Whitsett with nearly 20 years’ experience in Texas and local district accountability and 29 years of total professional experience—who bridge the gap between state and local school districts. In addition, subscribers become part of an active professional community where peers share information and solutions.

Forum Services • Regular updates on activity of the 82nd Texas Legislature, SBOE, TEA, and Comptroller in the area of accountability • Detailed analysis of district and campus accountability data • Accountability Briefings and HB 3 Accountability Conference • Rapid interpretations of TEA’s December 1 transition plan and other major accountability-related policies • Analyses of significant issues in state and federal accountability • Interactive participation in an electronic forum to facilitate the rapid exchange of information among subscribers Subscription fees are based on student enrollment; there is no increase in fees associated with coverage of the Texas Legislature.

Subscription Fees, 2010–11 The 82nd Legislative Session starts soon—now is the perfect time to subscribe to this leadership community and start benefitting from the specialized information you’ll receive. The subscription period runs through August 31. To subscribe, log onto TASAnet and click the Memberships/Subscriptions link under Your TASAnet Account.



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Contacts: Paul L. Whitton, Jr., Associate Executive Director, Administrative Services,; or Brettany Zirkle, Manager, Membership and Data Services, 406 East 11th Street • Austin, TX 78701-2617 • 512.477.6361 or 800.725.TASA (8272) 42



Corporate Partners



TASA is grateful to our corporate partners for their support.


Each level of the Corporate Partner Program is designed to offer our partners quality exposure to association members. Partners at the President’s Circle, Platinum, and Gold levels may customize special events and opportunities. SILVER


Apple CTB McGraw-Hill/School Education Group Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/SkillsTutor Pearson SHW Group SMART Technologies Tango Software The Princeton Review/Penn Foster CompassLearning CORE K12 IBM Cognos Software Indeco Sales, Inc. PBK Scholastic SchoolCity, Inc. Scientific Learning TCPN Creating & Managing Wealth, LLC Discovery Education Durham School Services LifeTrack Services, Inc. Renaissance Learning SureScore The College Board The Learning Together Company Balfour Company Cisco Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP TCG Consulting, LP Alton Lynch Associates Cambridge Strategic Services, LLC Classworks Education2020 FirstSouthwest Company K12 Excellence, Inc. Laying the Foundation Learning Plus School Innovations & Advocacy Sodexo Time To Know VALIC Wireless Generation

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TASA’s 2011 Midwinter Conference is going mobile! Access Midwinter Conference Anytime, Anywhere! Announcing a “Follow Me” smartphone app designed just for Midwinter Conference and Education Expo by Core-Apps ( “Follow Me” is revolutionizing how attendees interact with conferences and trade shows: n Review

and create a personalized schedule of conference sessions in advance


Download speaker presentations and white papers


Use the interactive exhibit hall map to locate vendors and create an efficient route

Plus… We’ll post an electronic version of the conference program book to TASAnet. This searchable, interactive book will give you a head start on planning your conference schedule, as well as provide live links to related resources such as exhibitors.

Watch for launch announcements of our interactive Midwinter features in TASA Daily and on TASAnet soon!

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INSIGHT—Winter 2010  
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