Get To Know Your State Education Agency


The Texas Education Agency is a branch of the state government responsible for public education. TEA is responsible for the oversight of public primary and secondary education in the state of Texas, involving both 1,236 individual school districts in the state as well as charter schools, and more than 4.8 million students. TEA responsibilities include serving as a fiscal agent for the distribution of state and federal funds, overseeing development of the statewide curriculum, administering the statewide assessment program, managing the textbook adoption process, and administering a data collection system on public school students, staff, and finances.

The State Board of Education (SBOE) is an elected 15-member board that guides and monitors activities and programs related to public education and is managed by a Commissioner of Education, who is appointed by the Governor of Texas. The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) oversees all aspects of the reparation, certification, and standards of conduct of public school educators. There are 11 members on the board who are appointed by the Governor, and three non-voting members. TEA provides staff support to the SBEC board.

In order to serve the large number of individual school districts and charter schools in Texas, TEA is divided into 20 regions, each containing an Educational Service Center. The 20 Education Service Centers are non-regulatory agencies whose purpose is to aid administrators and teachers by acting as a liaison between TEA and the local school districts and disseminating information, supplying teacher resources, and conducting training and consultation for both federal and state programs. Supported by state and federal funds, as well as by fees assessed for services and tools, they provide professional development in areas such as technology, bilingual education, special education, gifted and talented education, and programs for at-risk students. In addition, they offer alternative teacher, principal, and superintendent certification programs.

The State Board of Education periodically updates the state’s curriculum standards called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Textbooks and other instructional materials are then written for children based on those standards. More than 48 million textbooks are distributed by TEA to Texas public school students each year.

In fall 2011, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The STAAR program includes annual assessments for grades 3–8 in reading and mathematics, in writing at grades 4 and 7, in science at grades 5 and 8, in social studies at grade 8, and end-of-course assessments for English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and US History.

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Unit provides direction and leadership to the CTE programs throughout Texas. Career and technical programs are dedicated to preparing young people to manage the dual roles of family member and wage earner. They enable students to gain entry-level employment in a high-skill, high-wage job, and to continue their education. CTE staff assists districts statewide with implementation of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for CTE, collaborates with various professional organizations regarding CTE programs, and assists in overseeing the textbook adoption process for CTE instructional materials.