2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy
The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-need schools. This goal was reorganized and not graded in 2017.
Mentoring for New Teachers: Texas does not require a mentoring program or any other induction support for its new teachers. State policy indicates that school districts may receive funds from the Beginning Teacher Induction and Mentoring (BTIM) grant program "to establish a mentoring program at each eligible campus where a mentor teacher is assigned to each classroom teacher who has less than two years of teaching experience." Mentors and beginning teachers must meet weekly, and mentors must participate in beginning teacher orientation.
Programs must be approved by the commissioner and be "a research-based mentoring program that, through external evaluation, has demonstrated success in improving new teacher quality and teacher retention." Districts that participate in the BTIM program must submit periodic activity and progress reports to the Texas Education Agency.
Mentor Selection Criteria: For districts choosing to participate in the state's Beginning Teacher Induction and Mentoring program, Texas requires that the mentor teacher teach in the same school and, if possible, teach the same subject matter or grade level as the new teacher. Mentors must complete a training program, have at least three years' teaching experience, and have a superior record of improving student performance. Funding is provided for mentor stipends, mentor training, and mentor release time to meet and observe beginning teachers.
Beginning Teacher Induction and Mentoring http://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Educators/Educator_Initiatives_and_Performance/Beginning_Teacher_Induction_and_Mentoring/ Texas Education Code 21.458 Texas Statute 153.1011
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Although Texas supports mentoring of some teachers, the state should ensure that all new teachers—especially teachers in low-performing schools—receive mentoring support, particularly in the first critical weeks of school.
Texas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis; however, the analysis was updated subsequent to the state's response.
Too many new teachers are left to "sink or swim" when they begin teaching, leaving most new teachers overwhelmed and under-supported at the outset of their teaching careers. Although differences in preparation programs and routes to the classroom do affect readiness, even teachers from the most rigorous programs need support once they take on the myriad responsibilities of their own classroom. A survival-of-the-fittest mentality prevails in many schools; figuring out how to successfully negotiate unfamiliar curricula, discipline and management issues, and labyrinthine school and district procedures is considered a rite of passage. However, new teacher frustrations are not limited to low performers. Many talented new teachers become disillusioned early by the lack of support they receive, and, particularly in our most high-needs schools, it is often the most talented teachers who start to explore other career options.
Vague requirements simply to provide mentoring are insufficient. Although many states recognize the need to provide mentoring to new teachers, state policies merely indicating that mentoring should occur will not ensure that districts provide new teachers with quality mentoring experiences. While allowing flexibility for districts to develop and implement programs in line with local priorities and resources, states also should articulate the minimum requirements for these programs in terms of the frequency and duration of mentoring and the qualifications of those serving as mentors.