70% of Texas teachers are considering quitting their jobs, survey finds

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
More teachers on the verge of quitting in Texas, study finds
As schools are starting, a new study found that many teachers are on the verge of quitting. A lawmaker said this is a crisis that could impact kids for years.

The Texas State Teachers Association put out an alarming survey concerning educators across the state. It comes amid a country-wide teacher shortage.

The survey says the majority of teachers in Texas -- 70% -- were seriously considering quitting teaching in 2022.

That's the highest percentage ever recorded in the teacher moonlighting and morale survey, which has been tracking Texas teachers' concerns for more than 40 years.

In 2018, the last time the survey was conducted, 53% of teachers said they were considering quitting.

In total, 688 teachers were surveyed.

RELATED: It's not just COVID-19: Why Texas faces a teacher shortage

With the start of the school year weeks away, Texas school districts continue to carry a tune that has gone on for a while: teacher shortages.

The survey found that the average salary for a teacher who has been teaching for 16 years is $59,000 in Texas, which is $7,000 lower than the national average.

Many teachers said they feel burned out from pandemic-related stress, political pressure from state lawmakers, less support from parents 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, Gov. Greg Abbott convened a task force within the Texas Education Agency to study the shortage problem and come up with solutions.

Texas State Teachers Association spokesperson Clay Robinson said following the Uvalde mass shooting, teachers are worried about their safety and want gun reform.

"The last school year ended horrifically in gun violence with the shooting in Uvalde. The governor has refused to talk about gun reform. That's very important to teachers," Robinson said. "You add all of those factors together, and their stress level has just reached the point where they say, 'You know, I don't get paid enough, to begin with. I love teaching, but I can no longer afford to do this.'"

SEE ALSO: How schools are trying to address the national teacher shortage

The Economic Policy Institute projected demand for at least 300,000 new teachers nationwide by the year 2024.

Besides a low salary, a separate study found that Texas teachers, on average, receive some of the worst retirement benefits.

Robinson said moving forward, the next time state lawmakers meet, they are going into the legislative session with a large budget surplus, and they can support teachers by using that to substantially raise teacher pay.

We took the study results to members of the state House and Senate education committee.

State Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, plans to introduce legislation to raise the starting pay for teachers to $70,000.

"It's not the only thing," Talarico explained. "We've got to also improve benefits, and overall compensation and make sure teachers have the healthcare that they need. We've also got to improve retirement."

Talarico said he doesn't want to wait until next year. He'd like the governor to call a special session to address this issue now.

"We've got precious time that we can use to fix this problem and get our students caught up and treat our teachers with respect," Talarico said.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt said increasing pay across the board may not be the answer.

"We want to make sure that we incentivize teachers that have the most productivity to stay within the system," Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt isn't sure many teachers are actually leaving the industry, but changing districts.

"I just got off the phone with the TEA and what they believe is happening, because of the billions of dollars that have come into the Texas school system, what's happening is there are a bunch of jobs posted at higher levels and they're seeing people switching," Bettencourt explained.

ABC13 learned that districts are starting to hire quickly. Two weeks ago, we got vacancy numbers from several districts. On Tuesday, we got an update.

Fort Bend ISD has hired about 22 teachers. Aldine ISD about 176.

Cy-Fair ISD added nearly 50. And HISD has 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 gauges desirability based on compensation, teacher turnover, working conditions and qualifications. States are ranked on a scale from 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)