The Texas State Teachers Association has released an alarming survey of educators across the state. It comes amid a nationwide teacher shortage.
The survey indicates that the majority of teachers in Texas – 70% – were seriously considering leaving teaching in 2022.
That’s the highest percentage ever recorded in the Teacher Morale and Moonlighting Survey, which has tracked the concerns of Texas teachers for more than 40 years.
In 2018, the last time the survey was conducted, 53% of teachers said they were considering quitting smoking.
A total of 688 teachers were interviewed.
RELATED: It’s Not Just COVID-19: Why Texas Is Facing a Teacher Shortage
The survey found that the average salary for a teacher who has been teaching for 16 years is $59,000 in Texas, $7,000 less than the national average.
Many teachers said they felt drained from the stress of the pandemic, political pressure from state lawmakers, less parental support and financial burdens.
This comes at a time when the state is already facing a massive teacher shortage, like much of the country.
Earlier this year, Governor Greg Abbott convened a task force within the Texas Education Agency to study the shortage problem and find solutions.
Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robinson said in the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, teachers are worried about their safety and want gun reform.
“Last school year ended horribly in gun violence with the shooting in Uvalde. The governor refused to talk about gun reform. It’s very important for teachers,” Robinson said. “You add all of those factors together, and their stress level just gets to the point where they’re like, ‘You know, I don’t get paid enough, to begin with. I love teaching, but I can’t afford to do this anymore.'”
SEE ALSO: How schools are trying to address the national teacher shortage
Besides low pay, a separate study found that Texas teachers, on average, receive some of the worst retirement benefits.
Robinson said that in the future, the next time state legislators meet, they will enter the legislative session with a large budget surplus and they can support teachers by using it to significantly increase the salaries of teachers. teachers.
We shared the results of the study with members of the State House and Senate Education Committee.
State Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, plans to introduce legislation to raise teachers’ starting salaries to $70,000.
“That’s not the only thing,” Talarico explained. “We also need to improve benefits and overall compensation and make sure teachers get the health care they need. We also need to improve retirement.”
Talarico said he didn’t want to wait until next year. He would like the governor to call a special session to address this issue now.
“We have valuable time that we can use to address this issue and catch up with our students and treat our teachers with respect,” Talarico said.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt said raising salaries at all levels may not be the answer.
“We want to make sure that we incentivize the most productive teachers to stay in the system,” Bettencourt said.
Bettencourt isn’t sure many teachers actually leave the industry, but change districts.
“I just hung up the phone with the TEA and what they believe is happening, because of the billions of dollars that have gone into the Texas school system, what’s happening is there’s a bunch jobs posted at higher levels and they see people change,” Bettencourt explained.
ABC13 has learned that districts are starting to hire quickly. Two weeks ago we received vacancy numbers from several districts. On Tuesday we received an update.
Fort Bend ISD has hired approximately 22 teachers. Aldine ISD around 176.
Cy-Fair ISD added nearly 50. And HISD hired about 250 teachers.
For more on this story, follow Brhe Berry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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‘Teaching attractiveness rating’ by state
This map highlights the “teaching attractiveness rating” by state, which measures desirability based on compensation, teacher turnover, working conditions and qualifications. The states are ranked on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 (the lightest color) being the least desirable and 5 (the darkest color) being the most desirable. (Source: Learning Policy Institute, 2018)
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