Proposed New 19 TAC Chapter 70, Technology-Based Instruction, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules Concerning the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN)
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Proposed New 19 TAC Chapter 70, Technology-Based Instruction, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules Concerning the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) (PDF)
The rule action presented in this item was filed as proposed with the Texas Register under the commissioner's rulemaking authority. This item proposes new 19 TAC Chapter 70, Technology-Based Instruction, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules Concerning the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN). The proposed new rules would provide guidance for school districts, charter schools, and other entities participating in the TxVSN, in accordance with the Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 30A.
EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE OF ADOPTION:
December 10, 2012.
PROPOSED EFFECTIVE DATE:
January 31, 2013.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
In 2003, the 78th Texas Legislature established the electronic course program, allowing districts to offer electronic courses through a full-time online program. The TEC, Chapter 30A, State Virtual School Network, added by the 80th Texas Legislature, 2007, provided for the establishment of a state virtual school network to provide supplemental online courses to high school students. In 2009, House Bill 3646, 81st Texas Legislature, incorporated the electronic course program under the state virtual school network.
The TEC, §30A.051(b), authorizes the commissioner of education to adopt rules necessary to implement the state virtual school network, including the establishment of requirements for an informed choice report, procedures governing the verification of teacher professional development, and a standard agreement governing the payment of fees for courses taken through the state virtual school network. The proposed new 19 TAC Chapter 70, Subchapter AA, would establish the following provisions.
Proposed new §70.1001, Definitions, would define applicable words and terms.
Proposed new §70.1003, Texas Virtual School Network Governance, would establish the administrative functions and responsibilities related to the TxVSN program.
Proposed new §70.1005, Texas Virtual School Network Course Requirements, would address required criteria for electronic courses offered through the TxVSN and conditions an entity must meet to offer a course for submission. The proposed new rule would also outline the appeals process for courses that are not approved.
Proposed new §70.1007, Texas Virtual School Network Provider District Eligibility and Program Requirements, would address the eligibility requirements for entities to serve as provider districts in the TxVSN statewide course catalog.
Proposed new §70.1009, Texas Virtual School Network Online School Eligibility, would set forth the eligibility criteria for an entity to serve as a TxVSN online school.
Proposed new §70.1011, Texas Virtual School Network Online School Program Requirements, would establish the program requirements for TxVSN online schools, including application for approval to serve specific grade levels and approval for maximum enrollments.
Proposed new §70.1013, Texas Virtual School Network Student Eligibility, would address the criteria for students to enroll in courses offered through the TxVSN, including full-time enrollment.
Proposed new §70.1015, Texas Virtual School Network Enrollment, Advancement, and Withdrawal, would establish enrollment requirements for students taking courses through the TxVSN statewide course catalog or the online schools program. The proposed rule would also establish guidelines for withdrawal from and successful completion of TxVSN courses.
Proposed new §70.1017, Texas Virtual School Network Compulsory Attendance, would establish that students are not required to be in physical attendance while participating in TxVSN courses and that if a student successfully completes a course or program, the student is considered to have met all attendance requirements for that course or program.
Proposed new §70.1019, Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education, would establish guidelines under which a Texas public or private institution of higher education could serve students across the state through the TxVSN.
Proposed new §70.1021, Private Entities Providing Online Courses, would clarify that private entities supplying courses through the TxVSN are not accredited or approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) or the State of Texas.
Proposed new §70.1023, Accountability, would address the requirement that public school students enrolled in courses offered through the TxVSN Online School (OLS) program take all required state assessments. The proposed rule would also establish that school districts and charter schools participating in the TxVSN OLS program will be included in the state accountability system.
Proposed new §70.1025, Statewide Course Catalog Fees, would set forth criteria related to fees that may be charged for enrollment in courses offered through the TxVSN.
Proposed new §70.1027, Requirements for Educators of Electronic Courses, would establish the professional development requirements for teachers of online courses offered through the TxVSN and requirements for districts and charter schools regarding the maintenance of records documenting the completion of professional development.
Proposed new §70.1029, Texas Virtual School Network Participation and Performance Standards, would address the standards a school district or charter school must meet in order to continue to participate in the TxVSN and would establish the conditions under which a school district or charter school might have its participation in the TxVSN revoked.
Proposed new §70.1031, Informed Choice Reports, would identify the information to be included on required informed choice reports for each electronic course offered through the TxVSN.
Proposed new §70.1033, Local Policy Regarding Electronic Courses, would address the requirement that each school district and charter school adopt a policy regarding student enrollment in the TxVSN statewide course catalog.
Proposed new §70.1035, Rights Concerning the Texas Virtual School Network, would set forth requirements regarding notification to parents and students of opportunities to enroll in courses offered through the TxVSN and would outline student rights regarding enrollment. The proposed new rule would also outline the appeal process for a school district's or charter school's decision to deny a request to enroll a student in an electronic course offered through the TxVSN.
The TEA has determined that there are no costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed rule actions. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses and microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT:
The proposed new rules would provide students with additional course options and flexibility in completing course requirements for graduation. Additionally, the proposed new rules would provide for an additional alternative educational setting for students in Grades 3-8.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
Entities participating as providers in the TxVSN must provide certain information, including submitting courses for review, notifying parents and students of a student's acceptance to participate in a TxVSN online, and making informed choice reports available.
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
Participating school districts and charter schools will be required to retain all financial and programmatic records specific to the TxVSN contract, including documentation of teacher certification and professional development, documentation of students' successful completion, verification of compulsory attendance, documentation of fiscal management, records that support program of instruction, and records that document student participation in the TxVSN online school and grades earned.
The public comment period on the proposal begins November 9, 2012, and ends December 10, 2012.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on November 9, 2012.
Staff Members Responsible:
Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Programs
Monica Martinez, Managing Director, Curriculum Division
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.