Georgetown ISD’s district of innovation plan, which allows the district to exempt itself from certain portions of the Texas Education Code, took effect at the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Here are four things to know:
1. Georgetown ISD followed a DOI approval process required by the Texas Education Agency.
2. The DOI system allows districts to be exempt from certain state laws.
• A district interested in a DOI designation must develop a local innovation plan with public input and receive approval from an advisory committee and its school board.
• The TEA does not have authority over a DOI plan’s approval, but the agency does retain the right to investigate plans that claim unallowable exemptions.
• A DOI-designated district could choose to hire industry professionals to teach certain subjects, raise class-size caps, lower mandatory attendance rates and use unique instruction methods.
• Proponents argue that with fewer restrictions, school districts can pursue more innovative practice. But some critics have raised concerns that the DOI concept grants school districts too much power and could put educators’ jobs at risk.
3. Texas school districts with DOI designations have increased sharply in 2017
4. GISD identified six texas education code statutes for possible exemption in its DOI plan.
• First day of instruction (TEC 25.0811): mandates school years cannot begin before the fourth Monday in August
• District-level, campus planning (TEC 11.252, TEC 11.253)
• Minimum attendance for class credit (TEC 25.092): requires students attend at least 90 percent of a class to receive credit
• Teacher certification rules (TEC 21.003): requires teachers to hold appropriate certification
• Student discipline (TEC 37.0012): requires school campuses to designate a campus behavior coordinator
• Teacher appraisal system (TEC 21.203, TEC 21.352): sets criteria to evaluate teachers
Sources: Georgetown ISD, Texas Education Agency/Community Impact Newspaper