Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Big Changes in Store for Instructional Materials Thanks to HB 1605

2023 Legislation Affecting Educators’ Employment Rights

Your Ally | By Lance Cain, ATPE Managing Attorney

Lesson planning: You either love it or hate it. Some educators feel overburdened with excessive lesson-planning requirements, while other educators feel their freedom and creativity are stifled by district- or campus-mandated content.

Texas educators will almost certainly have differing opinions about House Bill (HB) 1605 as it goes into effect. According to the bill analysis produced by the Texas Legislative Council, this new law passed during the regular session of the 88th Legislature seeks to “relieve teachers of certain duties relating to material development” and “improve quality of classroom instructional materials, help ease teachers’ workloads, and ensure curriculum transparency for parents.”

Because HB 1605 is new and substantially changes how instructional materials are handled under the Texas Education Code (TEC), it is difficult to accurately predict its impact. But we can discuss timelines and its potential effects.

HB 1605 purports to return control over instructional materials to the State Board of Education (SBOE). It allows TEA to purchase instructional materials directly from vendors and, in turn, make them available to school districts. It expands the TEC definition of “instructional material” to include lesson plans, answer keys, and other materials used by teachers, as well as materials used by administrators to support instruction. Use of TEA-purchased instructional materials is optional for school districts, but there’s a financial incentive for doing so.

A substantial part of HB 1605 is creation of a new Online Repository for Open Education Resource (OER) Instructional Material. OER instructional materials are either owned by the State of Texas, in the public domain, or considered “free use” under intellectual property laws. HB 1605 requires TEA to obtain or develop OER instructional materials in certain courses and grade levels. These materials will be reviewed and, if approved, made available to school districts through an OER repository website, which will allow for individual comments and feedback TEA can consider in updating and improving the material.

Educator preparation programs must train participants on use of the OER instructional materials included on the SBOE’s list of approved instructional materials.

When will this roll out?

TEA guidance outlines a fairly long rollout for relevant instructional materials under HB 1605. The remainder of 2023 will be spent discussing the new SBOE Instructional Materials Review and Adoption (IMRA). In 2024, the IMRA process will begin in the first content areas, and later that year, the SBOE will begin to adopt materials. The goal is for school districts to have access to SBOE-approved materials for the 2025-26 school year.

What will be required of educators?

School districts may enter into supplemental agreements with a teacher to prepare initial lesson plans or instructional materials if that is a not a normal part of the teacher’s anticipated duties. If a foundation curriculum course teacher (English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies) has not entered into such an agreement, they generally may not be required to spend their planning and preparation time creating such content.

Immunity provisions

Classroom teachers who exclusively use district-approved SBOE instructional materials are immune from terminations, nonrenewals, and actions taken against their certificates by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). The immunity only applies to alleged violations of the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and only if the teacher follows the SBOE materials with fidelity.

Parental review

HB 1605 requires school districts to allow for parental review of instructional materials, either in person or through an online portal that includes most instructional materials. However, a classroom teacher may not be required to submit instructional materials they developed to the portal.

Local review

School districts may review a foundation-curriculum course teacher’s instructional materials to determine whether they correspond with district-adopted materials and meet grade-level standards. Once this review process is initiated, the teacher may not be required to spend more than 30 minutes on a single review unless a longer review is unavoidable. Further, a review should not occur more than once per year, subject, or grade level.

More information should become available as implementation of HB 1605’s requirements proceed. Some teachers may not be affected at all. Whether you find the new requirements helpful or detrimental will depend on your preferences and your district’s requirements. Either way, big changes are in store.


The legal information provided here is accurate as of the date of publication. It is provided here for informative purposes only. Individual legal situations vary greatly, and readers needing individual legal advice should consult directly with an attorney. Please note: Rights based on the Texas Education Code may not apply to all. Many Texas Education Code provisions do not apply to public charter schools, and public school districts may have opted out of individual provisions through a District of Innovation plan. Eligible ATPE members may contact the ATPE Member Legal Services Department.