Serving the Church in Texas

History of Catholic school accreditation in Texas

Catholic schools were established across Texas during the 19th and early 20th centuries. A number of these schools are still in operation today, living memorials to the religious and lay women and men who dedicated their lives to promoting and nurturing Catholic education in the state.

Although Catholic education in Texas can be traced back prior to the 18th century, it was not until the 20th century that schools sought formal recognition through accreditation. Many of the Catholic schools that are still in operation received accreditation during the early years of the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

In 1956 Msgr. Edward Maher and Bishop T.K. Gorman of the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth led a unified action to have a blanket plan of accreditation for all Catholic schools in the seven existing dioceses.
Msgr. Jack Meyers of the Dallas-Fort Worth Diocese collaborated with other Catholic school superintendents to negotiate with TEA for accreditation in 1962.
In 1965 the bishops of the then nine dioceses agreed on requirements to initiate the accreditation process within six years. The following year TEA visited the Diocese of Dallas, granting a five-year probationary status. When fully approved, accreditation of all of its schools would be retroactive to 1965. Full accreditation was approved by September 1971. Over the next several years, a small number of schools were visited and accredited.

Massive public educational reform supported by legislation in 1984 created mandates, parameters, and problems with accreditation for all private schools in Texas. The superintendents of the then 14 dioceses collaborated to formulate an accreditation process placed under the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department (TCCED) which was under the aegis of the bishops of the state.

Cooperative efforts characterized the history of Catholic accreditation from 1986–1989. As collaboration continued with the state via TEA, the Texas Association of Non-Public Schools (TANS) and a core group of private school associations, a single umbrella organization for private school accreditation came into being, Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC).

The Texas Catholic Conference Education Department, through its association with TEPSAC, is recognized by the Texas Education Agency, and is responsible for the implementation of the accreditation process for Texas Catholic schools.

To assist and give direction to the TCCED, the bishops approved the formation of the Texas Catholic Conference Accreditation Commission (TCCAC). Membership on the commission consists of six Catholic school superintendents, six commissioners-at-large and two bishops, who serve as episcopal liaisons.