Aug 12, 2022 - News

Back to school, but not for all Texas teachers

Illustration of a handwriting alphabet above the chalkboard spells out "Hiring."
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Texas is in the midst of a teacher shortage that could get even worse this year.

Driving the news: Classes resumed this week at some school districts, including Plano and Lewisville. Dallas ISD returns to school next week.

State of play: School districts across North Texas have adopted new retention measures, including higher starting pay for newly hired teachers, bonuses for returning staff and higher minimum wages for employees.

Yes, but: Our local schools are still hiring for teaching and staff positions.

  • Dallas ISD has posted 82 full-time jobs on its website in the past week.
  • Plano ISD's website shows dozens of job openings, from special education to grade-specific teachers.

Threat level: At the start of last school year, almost 43,000 teachers in Texas didn't return to the school districts where they worked the previous year. The 11.6% attrition rate was the highest the state has seen in over a decade, and it will likely increase, per the Texas State Teachers Association.

  • School districts hired 43,000 new teachers across Texas last year, but it's hard to gauge their experience level, if they were certified or if they were teachers who switched school districts.

What they're saying: The attrition rate may end up even higher this year.

  • "Many teachers actually quit during the middle of the past school year, and they will show up on the attrition rate for the upcoming year," TSTA spokesperson Clay Robison tells Axios.

By the numbers: Among Texas teachers still in the profession, a record 70% say they're seriously considering quitting their job this year, according to survey data released this week by the Texas State Teachers Association.

  • 94% of the teachers surveyed blamed pandemic-caused stress at work for their burnout and 51% said their school administrators weren't as supportive in handling the health emergency.
  • 85% said they don't believe parents and elected state officials support them, and 65% don't believe the general public has a positive opinion of teachers.

Zoom out: Teaching has long been an underpaid and undervalued profession.

  • And America's demands on its educators have mounted over the last two years, driving many of them out of the profession and contributing to a longstanding shortage that will outlast the pandemic, Axios' Erica Pandey and Alison Snyder report.

What we're watching: Gov. Greg Abbott has formed a task force to find solutions to teacher vacancies. Congress is looking into the problem as well.

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