Where We Stand on Teacher Workforce

Teachers make the difference. They spark joy, cultivate curiosity, and brighten the future of Texas.

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Teacher Workforce policy brief

High-quality teachers are strongly linked to student achievement, significantly increasing high school graduation rates, college completion rates, and salary earnings. However, a myriad of challenges exacerbated by the pandemic and public attitude towards education are pushing teachers out of the profession. Now more than ever, the Texas legislature should support retention, recruitment, and development practices that strengthen our teacher workforce. When Texas supports its teachers, Texas supports its future.

Teacher Retention

Texas teachers have maneuvered through pandemic restrictions, school safety protocols, growing budget constraints, and additional state mandates, all while making sure our students receive a quality education. Even after helping Texas students recover from COVID-related learning disruptions, teachers are struggling to make ends meet and find fulfillment in their work. According to the 2022 Charles Butt Foundation Texas Teacher Poll, 41% of teachers work additional jobs out of financial need outside of their school, in most cases, during the school year. Additionally, more than 80% of teachers see insufficient planning time, non-instructional responsibilities, and high-stakes testing as obstacles to their effectiveness.

Lawmakers must not take for granted the contributions our teachers have made. This year alone, 77% of Texas teachers seriously considered leaving the classroom, citing excessive workload, insufficient pay, and disrespect for the profession as major factors in that decision. Many school districts will continue to face teacher shortages unless the legislature acts now. The first steps in ensuring our teachers feel adequately supported and welcomed in Texas public schools are to improve teacher compensation and working conditions. Teachers show up for Texas during its toughest hours; it’s time for Texas to show up for our teachers.

Policy Recommendations

  • Support teacher retention through increased compensation and benefits packages, adequate administrative support, and sustainable work environments
  • Invest in teacher recruitment strategies, including scholarships for aspiring teachers
  • Strengthen teacher development by raising the standards for all education preparation programs and providing meaningful professional development opportunities

Texas Teachers Have Seriously Considered Leaving

77% of Texas teachers seriously considered leaving the profession in 2022 due to:

  • High levels of stress
  • Feeling undervalued
  • Excessive workload
  • Administrative burdens
  • Poor pay and benefits

Texas Teachers Seek More Income From Second Jobs

41% of Texas teachers work additional jobs outside of their school out of financial need.

Teacher Recruitment

Texas has the capacity to lead the way in making the teaching profession an attractive and competitive career choice. However, only 3% of Texans who took the SAT in 2021 cited an interest in teaching, and most parents in Texas do not support the idea of their children becoming teachers. As Texas grapples with teacher shortages, revitalizing our approach to teacher recruitment has never been more important. The Texas legislature should support strong incentives that elevate the status of teaching and draw diverse talent into our public schools.

Scholarships for aspiring teachers are one of the best recruitment tools available. They reduce the cost of a college education in exchange for a commitment to serve public school students. As a result, teacher scholarships increase access to the best preparation programs, attract diverse teacher candidates, and address teacher shortage areas. Studies have shown that teacher scholarship programs contribute to better retention rates and greater student achievement.

Teacher Development

High-quality training is essential for preparing effective teachers. All teacher candidates, regardless of pathway, should have extensive clinical field experience before becoming a teacher of record. In Texas, the majority of teachers earn their certification through for-profit alternative certification programs (ACPs) – many of which only require up to 30 hours of in-classroom experience. Data shows that ACPs are linked to worse teacher retention rates and lower student achievement. In a recent study from The University of Texas at Austin, students in grades four through nine gained up to two extra months of learning in math and reading when assigned a university-certified teacher. The learning gains were even more pronounced for economically disadvantaged students. As a result, low-quality ACPs often contribute to the very problems they intend to solve.

Teacher development doesn’t end upon certification. Like all professionals, teachers deserve support throughout their careers, especially in the initial years of teaching. Research shows high-quality mentorship improves teacher retention and student performance. One study found that comprehensive mentorship programs cut new teacher turnover in half. By building a culture of support and a network of resources, the state of Texas can ensure each teacher is properly equipped to provide the quality of education our students deserve.

Download Policy Brief (PDF)

En Español


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