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Here is Where We Stand on Teacher Workforce

A Strong Teacher Pipeline is Critical to a Strong Public Education System

Whether it’s serving as the inspirational spark, the content expert, the compassionate ally, or the patient listener, Texas teachers are the heart of our state’s public education system. Effective teachers guide our students’ academic growth as well as their physical, social, and emotional well-being. For this reason, improving recruitment, development, and retention of our most promising and dedicated teachers must be a top priority.

The global pandemic upended the way teachers use technology, engage with students, and approach instruction. Texas’ 368,000-member-strong teaching corps met this unprecedented challenge with ingenuity and resilience, and reinforced how important they are for our state.

And yet, several opportunities still exist for Texas to strengthen its teacher workforce pipeline. Teacher preparation programs must recruit a wider pool of teacher candidates who better reflect the diversity of Texas. These programs must rigorously train aspiring teachers to be effective when they enter the classroom. Finally, we must value the retention of our best teachers with improved working conditions, better pay, and strategic professional development.

A Better Future for Our State Starts with Recruitment

The first step in building a stronger teacher pipeline involves recruiting talented and diverse candidates to the field. Studies show students thrive when taught by a teacher who looks like them.1 And yet, Texas’ teaching population continues to be overwhelmingly white and female — a very different makeup than our state’s student population. To address this persistent disparity, we must continue to improve the quality of our teacher preparation programs, provide loan forgiveness and scholarship assistance to aspiring teachers, and work to improve perceptions about the value of teachers and their importance to society.

The Faulty Teacher Pipeline in Texas

The Texas teacher workforce pipeline needs repair. Clogs are preventing productive recruitment, while leaks in retention and training drive teachers out of the profession.

Transparency in Teacher Preparation Is Needed

Studies show residency model university preparation programs produce teachers who achieve better student outcomes, rank higher on principal evaluations, and remain in the field longer than their peers.2 Unfortunately, the majority of aspiring Texas teachers find themselves enrolled in alternative certification programs, many of which produce teachers who often leave the field as quickly as they enter it.3

Aspiring teachers need transparent and accessible data that identifies quality within the more than 129 teacher preparation programs in Texas. A state appropriation giving teacher preparation programs the ability to easily input data on the quality of their programs would help aspiring teachers identify lower quality programs and improve the profession overall.

Teachers Often Don’t Look Like the Students in Their Classrooms

Since 2011, Texas has made little progress in increasing diversity.

Quality Teacher Recruitment and Training Go Hand-in-Hand

Recognizing the need for more high-quality educator preparation programs, the Raise Your Hand Texas® Foundation created the Raising Texas Teachers program.

Central to this 10-year, $50 million initiative is the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers®. The scholarship consists of $8,000 in annual scholarship funding for up to four years for candidates identified through a rigorous selection process. Scholarships can be used only for high-performing educator preparation programs at Texas universities, also selected through a rigorous, competitive process. Scholars receive ongoing training and professional development opportunities, mentorship from sitting public school leaders, and access to a statewide aspiring teachers network facilitated by the Foundation.

Our Commitment to Our Most Effective Teachers Must Be Sustained

Each year, approximately 36,000 teachers leave the profession, and nearly one-third quit teaching within five years of entering the field. The poor quality of certain preparation programs and the inability to retain quality teachers in the profession are costly for school districts, which bear the financial burden of recruiting and onboarding new teachers.4 More importantly, constant teacher turnover is detrimental for low-income students and students of color, who are disproportionately served by inexperienced and ill-prepared teachers.

Texas can do better. House Bill 3 (86th-R) provided a good first step by increasing teacher pay, continuing professional development, and funding mentor teachers. In addition to our other policy recommendations, these programs will need continued support and development.

Policy Recommendations

  • Support programs and practices, including scholarship and loan forgiveness programs, which are proven to recruit diverse candidates into the field.
  • Support research-based improvements in Texas’ teacher preparation programs, including enhanced clinical practice or in-classroom experience, prior to certification.
  • Increase transparency and accountability in the state’s educator data system with an appropriation that makes it easier for teacher preparation programs to track and report certain quality indicators, including retention data.