Raise Your Hand Texas August Update | Friday, August 19, 2022
The FIVE Things to Know and ONE Thing to Do
Raise Your Hand Texas has a front-row seat to the Capitol. From our vantage point, public education policy issues have never been more important, and this is why we must make every session a public education session.
The One Thing to Do:
Learn about how Texas schools are graded by the TEA
To understand more about our current A-F accountability rating system works, and how your school district and campuses performed in the most recent ratings, please visit: https://txschools.gov.
Five Things to Know:
1. Welcome Back to School!
As we begin the 2022-2023 school year, Raise Your Hand Texas would like to say a special thank you and word of appreciation to our school staff members across Texas. We are especially grateful to all of you for your hard work to make the start of the new school year a great one for our Texas students. Throughout the pandemic, recent tragedies, and other challenging times, you worked tirelessly to keep our students learning. We would also like to send a warm welcome to our new teachers as you begin your career. Quite simply, our schools are not the buildings, they are the people inside. We thank you for the important work you do. We see you, your work, appreciate you.
2. TEA Releases School Accountability Ratings
On Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released its ratings for public school districts across the state. This marks the first time Texas school districts and schools have received ratings since 2019, because the TEA paused A-F school ratings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the latest TEA ratings, 25% of districts and 33% of schools improved their letter grade from 2019 ratings. Raise Your Hand Texas believes that increased investments made at the federal, state, and local levels have shown, when properly funded, our public schools exceed expectations on this one test.
3. Measure What Matters in our Public Schools
Raise Your Hand Texas believes we need a more robust school accountability system to truly measure how our schools are being effective in student learning. Texans believe more goes on in our schools than one test on one day, and our current system does not sufficiently measure all that schools contribute.
Over 80% of more than 15,600 respondents from our Texas Voices survey said they do not believe the STAAR Test alone can effectively measure “the full range of things that make for a good school.” Texans want us to help create simple, coherent policy recommendations that will move our state towards more meaningful school accountability.
4. New Study Points to Widening Teacher Pay Gap
A new study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) discusses the pay penalty, or gap, teachers are facing compared to other non-teacher college graduates. Texas teachers’ pay is about 20% lower than other college graduates in our state, according to the EPI report.
According to the study, the average weekly wages of public school teachers across the nation (adjusted for inflation) increased only $29 from 1996 to 2021 from $1,319 to $1,348 (in 2021 dollars). In contrast, inflation-adjusted weekly wages of other college graduates rose from $1,564 to $2,009 over the same period — a $445 increase.
To read more visit: The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high.
Raise Your Hand Texas supports attracting and retaining our state’s teachers through increased compensation and benefits packages, adequate administrative support, and sustainable work environments.
5. House Public Education Committee to Focus on Teacher Workforce Issues
The House Public Education Committee will hold its final interim hearing on Tuesday, September 20 at 10:00 a.m. This will be a joint hearing with the House Higher Education Committee to hear testimony on the following interim charges:
- Evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the state’s teacher workforce, and current practices to improve the recruitment, preparation, and retention of high-quality educators.
- Explore the impact of the educator preparation program regulatory environment.
- Make recommendations to improve educator recruitment, retention, and preparation throughout the state.