HISD Enlisted Approx 830 Teachers without Proper Certification in 2023-24
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Houston Independent School District (HISD) has brought in a minimum of 830 teachers without proper certification to address staffing gaps since coming under state control, as per district records. In August, HISD disclosed its intention to request waivers from the Texas Education Agency, marking the first time in a decade, to hire uncertified teachers in response to a widespread shortage of educators. The district has reported the recruitment of 839 teachers, constituting approximately 4% of its teaching staff, with certification waivers for the current academic year, according to data from the annual snapshot.

In Texas, teachers are required to possess a bachelor’s degree, complete an educator preparation program, pass relevant teacher certification exams, and submit an application to the state, as outlined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). However, districts can utilize certification waivers to employ individuals for teaching positions even if they lack certification, teaching experience, or an education degree. For the 2023-24 school year, the district indicated a total of 21,510 teachers, with 16,454 holding standard certifications and 3,000 having provisional certifications.

Jessica Neyman, Chief Human Resources Officer at HISD, explained that the district hired several uncertified teachers at the start of the academic year to ensure full staffing with qualified educators. HISD reported initiating the current school year without any vacancies, a positive shift from the previous year that commenced with over 600 teacher vacancies across 274 campuses.

“It’s not uncommon to commence a school year, particularly for a large district, with hundreds of vacancies, but we chose to adopt a different strategy as part of the New Education System,” Neyman stated. “Let’s achieve full staffing with teachers and establish stability for the students, and then work towards helping these individuals obtain certification.” However, Neyman clarified that not all uncertified teachers in the district were hired at the start of the year; some joined later to fill teaching positions that became available throughout the school year.

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