By Scott Blair
There is a dispute as to whether or not there is a teacher shortage in Texas. However, if you dig deeper into the numbers, the evidence suggests they exist.
The state of Texas has experienced a teacher shortage in recent years, and it’s not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers leave the company for a variety of reasons, including poor pay. The average teacher does $20.31 per hour in Texas. Also, poor performance, classrooms that are too big for their liking, and nationwide political struggles have all contributed to this trend.
The dance between online and face-to-face classes, masked debates, arguments over what should and shouldn’t be taught in the classroom, and classroom safety have also contributed to this escalating problem.
Read on to learn what you need to know about the Texas teacher shortage.
The extent of the teacher shortage in Texas
the attrition rate, [how many teachers are leaving their jobs] is the biggest problem Texas faces in terms of its shortage.
“We have a lot more teachers leaving the profession, which opens up a lot of extra positions.” Kelvey Oeser, Texas Education Agency (TEA’s) Associate Pedagogy and Systems Support Officer, says. “We have seen that teacher turnover has increased. What we don’t know is [if] will it level off again, or will we see it continue to rise?”
Retirement rates have also increased. In Texas, an average of 7,500 teachers have retired since fiscal 2018. The latest figures from fiscal 2021 show an increase to 8,600. However, for the 2021-22 school year, the state hired 26,000 new teachers.
Numbers show increase in teachers, but…
That latest numbers seem to show an increase in teachers. The turnover rate in 2021-22 was 42,839 and the hiring rate was 42,973. However, these numbers can be deceiving. The gap between new recruits and those who leave is narrowing. For example, there were 7,000 in 2020-21. For the last year before the pandemic, the difference was around 1,000 teachers. Job offers have clearly eclipsed hiring since 2018.
More evidence of a teacher shortage
The teacher shortage in Texas is complicated. Whether you agree with that or not, here are most of them current state-approved numbers according to the United States Department of Education (ED) and the TEA regarding bottlenecks.
- Bilingual/English as a Second Language – Elementary and Secondary
- Special Education – Elementary and Secondary Education
- Vocational and technical education – secondary level
- Technology Applications and Computer Science – Elementary and Secondary Education
- Mathematics – Secondary Education
Recognized areas of shortage help administrators recruit and retain qualified teachers.
Another prominent problem related to teacher shortages is the hiring of underqualified educators to fill the gaps. Research at the University of Anenberg shows, thatOn average, there are 136,000 apprenticeship positions with underqualified teachers in each federal state. Underqualified teachers are those who teach subjects in which they have no degree or training. Also, there is an increase in teachers in the workforce who have completed a year-long certification course rather than having a bachelor’s degree.
In Texas there is a boom in teachers who are not traditionally certified. For the above reasons, teachers are needed, and fast. So how can you help? After a one-year course and subsequent exam, you can become a certified teacher.
However, the biggest problem is that research shows that teachers who enter the education sector through these quick certification portals leave the job faster. This is another reason for the teacher shortage in Texas.
What should be done about it?
First and foremost, teachers should feel safe in the classroom. They should be able to do their job and not worry about getting hurt or getting worse. Also, it could help overcome the problem of the mask debate and political infighting over lesson plans. Also, providing teachers with better benefits and smaller classrooms could help. Teachers are extremely important around the world and we must treat them as such.