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Texas Teacher’s Certification in Question: Who’s to Blame?

From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin

A messy (and bizarre) certification case in Texas is fueling the fire for opponents of alternative-pathway programs with flexible requirements. See a previous article about this ongoing debate here.

Lisa Ashmore received her bachelor's degree from Louisiana Baptist University—a school that is not accredited by the Texas Education Agency. She was, however, accepted by iteachTexas, an alternative-preparation company, and recommended for state certification after completing her required training courses. In 2003, the TEA approved her teaching certification.

TEA recently discovered Ashmore’s unaccredited degree (in what was likely part of an audit of the charter school where Ashmore is now the special education director, though this is unclear from the Dallas Morning News report). The state agency is seeking to revoke her teaching license.

Both TEA and iteachTexas are blaming each other for the oversight. Ashmore will retain her job pending an administrative hearing scheduled for August.

What do you think? Is it the state education department’s or the private training company’s obligation to review a candidate’s background? Should the education department trust private companies’ vetting processes?

Does Ashmore deserve immunity since she’s now an experienced teacher?

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