|(a) Purpose. Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff shall
maintain a process through which a candidate or former candidate in
an educator preparation program (EPP), an applicant for candidacy
in an EPP, an employee or former employee of an EPP, a cooperating
teacher, a mentor, a site supervisor, or an administrator in a public
or private school that serves as a site for clinical teaching, internship,
or practicum experiences may submit, in accordance with subsection
(c)(1) of this section, a complaint about an EPP for investigation
(b) EPP responsibilities.
(1) The EPP shall adopt and send to TEA staff, for
inclusion in the EPP's records, a complaint procedure that requires
the EPP to timely attempt to resolve complaints at the EPP level before
a complaint is filed with TEA staff.
(2) The EPP shall post on its website a link to the
TEA complaints website and information regarding how to file a complaint
under the EPP's complaint policy.
(3) The EPP shall post a notification at all of its
physical site(s) used by employees and candidates, in a conspicuous
location, information regarding filing a complaint with TEA staff
in accordance with subsection (c)(1) of this section.
(4) Upon request of an individual, the EPP shall provide
information in writing regarding filing a complaint under the EPP's
complaint policy and the procedures to submit a complaint to TEA staff
in accordance with subsection (c)(1) of this section.
(c) TEA responsibilities.
(1) Filing a complaint. TEA staff will develop a complaint
form to standardize information received from an individual making
a complaint against an EPP. The complaint form will be available on
the TEA website. All complaints filed against an EPP must be in writing
on the complaint form. The written complaint must clearly state the
facts that are the subject of the complaint and must state the measures
the complainant has taken to attempt resolution of the complaint with
the EPP. Anonymous complaints may not be accepted or investigated.
(2) Processing the complaint.
(A) TEA staff will record all complaints in the TEA
complaints tracking system. Each complaint, no matter the severity,
shall be assigned a tracking number.
(B) The complaint will be forwarded to the division
responsible for educator preparation for further action, including
assessing the complaint, providing a severity status and prioritizing
the complaint accordingly, and determining jurisdiction.
(C) If TEA staff determines that the complaint is not
within the State Board for Educator Certification's (SBEC's) jurisdiction,
TEA staff shall notify the complainant that the complaint will be
closed without action for lack of jurisdiction. TEA staff and the
SBEC do not have jurisdiction over complaints related to contractual
arrangements with an EPP, commercial issues, obtaining a higher grade
or credit for training, or seeking reinstatement to an EPP.
(D) If TEA staff determines the complainant knew or
should have known about the events giving rise to a complaint more
than two years before the earliest date the complainant filed a complaint
with either TEA staff or the EPP, TEA staff will notify the complainant
that the complaint will be closed without action.
(E) If a complainant has not exhausted all applicable
complaint and appeal procedures that the EPP has established to address
complaints, TEA staff may delay initiating an investigation until
the EPP's complaint and appeal process is complete.
(3) Investigating the complaint.
(A) If TEA staff determines a complaint is within the
SBEC's jurisdiction, TEA staff will notify the respondent EPP that
a complaint has been made, provide a summary of the allegations in
the complaint, and request that the EPP respond to the complaint.
(B) TEA staff may request further information from
the individual and from the EPP.
(C) An EPP shall:
(i) cooperate fully with any SBEC investigation; and
(ii) respond within 21 business days of receipt to
requests for information regarding the complaint(s) and other requests
for information from the TEA, except where:
(I) TEA staff imposes a different response date; or
(II) the EPP is unable to meet the initial response
date and requests and receives a different response date from TEA
(D) If an EPP fails to comply with subparagraph (C)
of this paragraph, the SBEC may amend the complaint to reflect the
violation and may deem admitted the violation of SBEC rules and/or
Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 21, alleged in the original complaint.
(4) Resolving the complaint.
(A) Upon completion of an investigation, TEA staff
will notify both the individual and the EPP in writing of the findings
of the investigation. If TEA staff finds that a violation occurred,
the notice will specify the statute and/or rule that was alleged to
have been violated.
(B) Each party will have ten business days to present
additional evidence or to dispute the findings of the investigation.
(C) After reviewing any additional evidence, if TEA
staff finds that no violation has occurred, the complaint will be
closed and TEA staff will notify both parties in writing.
(D) After reviewing any additional evidence, if TEA
staff finds that the EPP has violated SBEC rules and/or TEC, Chapter
21, the following provisions apply.
(i) TEA staff will notify the EPP in writing and specify
for each violation the seriousness and extent of the violation, including
whether the EPP has been found to have violated that statute and/or
(ii) Within ten business days of TEA staff notifying
the EPP in writing that a violation has occurred, the EPP and TEA
staff will collaboratively develop and agree to a timely resolution
of each violation. If the parties cannot agree on a resolution within
ten business days, TEA staff will unilaterally propose a resolution
within ten business days of TEA staff issuing the violation notice.
(iii) If the EPP complies with the agreed or proposed
resolution, the investigation is closed and results recorded in accordance
with subparagraph (E) of this paragraph.
(iv) If the EPP does not comply with the agreed or
proposed resolution within the timelines set out in the resolution,
TEA staff will make a recommendation that the SBEC impose sanctions
affecting the EPP's accreditation status in accordance with §229.5
of this title (relating to Accreditation Sanctions and Procedures)
and/or continuing approval status in accordance with §229.6 of
this title (relating to Continuing Approval).
(v) The EPP shall be entitled to an informal review
of the proposed recommendation for sanctions under the conditions
and procedures set out in §229.7 of this title (regarding Informal
Review of Texas Education Agency Recommendations).
(E) The final disposition of the complaint will be
recorded in the TEA complaints tracking system.