The Charles Butt Foundation released the results of their 2022 Texas Teacher Poll, which reports on teachers’ attitudes towards the profession and public education, insights into the challenges they face, their professional experiences, and retention strategies that would keep them in the profession.
The survey reported that 77 percent of Texas teachers have seriously considered leaving the profession, a startling increase of 19 percentage points in just two years. Of those considering leaving, 93 percent have taken concrete steps to do so, such as preparing resumes, searching for jobs, and interviewing for new positions.
The report summarizes key reasons Texas teachers are leaving the profession and breaks things down across various demographics. In short, teachers are feeling undervalued, overworked, and underpaid.
Teachers reported feeling less valued overall. When asked, “how much, if at all, do you feel that each of these [groups] value you as a teacher a great deal/good amount?”, teachers responded:
- Your school administrators—55 percent
- The parents of your students—44 percent
- Your community—34 percent
- Texans overall—17 percent
- Elected officials in the state—5 percent
Obstacles to teaching
Teachers shared a wide range of barriers to effectively doing their jobs. Topping the list, teachers reported:
- Too many non-instructional tasks and responsibilities—86 percent
- Not enough planning time—82 percent
- Pressure to have students do well on standardized tests—81 percent
- Too-large class sizes—74 percent
- Lack of student support services—66 percent
Problems with pay
Eighty-one percent of Texas teachers believe their pay is unfair. Further examining problems with pay, results show:
- By region, teacher salaries are lowest in East, West, and Central Texas.
- Fifty-two percent of Texas teachers surveyed work second jobs for extra money.
- Nearly nine in 10 teachers who work a second job do so during the school year.
- Compounding the feelings of being underpaid, 98 percent of teachers reported spending their own money on classroom supplies and supporting students’ basic needs.
On a positive note, solidarity among Texas teachers is strong. Eighty-two percent feel valued by other teachers in their school, and 91 percent trust their fellow colleagues to make decisions in the best interest of their students. The survey identified several actionable retention strategies that teachers consider extremely/very important. The top five are:
- A positive work culture and environment—97 percent
- A significant salary increase—91 percent
- Autonomy as a classroom leader—90 percent
- Maximizing retirement benefits—88 percent
- District-wide days off for teacher and student well-being—85 percent
To dig deeper, read the full report The 2022 Texas Teacher Poll: Persistent Problems and a Path Forward.
Erin Kolecki is a compensation and HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Erin an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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