The supply of newly certified teachers joining the profession dwindles.
Widespread budget and staffing cuts in 2011–2012 resulted in the lowest number of newly certified teachers in Texas (20,306) in ten years. Texas steadily increased that number to over 26,000 newly certified teachers each year from 2014–2015 through 2016–2017. However, the number of individuals obtaining teacher certifications decreased significantly in 2017–2018, down by 10.4 percent from the previous school year. New teacher certifications decreased only slightly in 2018–2019 with 134 fewer certifications.
The count of new teachers employed in the school year following completion of their teaching certification followed a similar trend. However, the chart below shows the percentage of newly certified teachers employed the next school year slightly increased from 81.4 percent for 2014–2015 to 83.7 percent for 2018–2019.
Source: Texas Education Agency (TEA)
Teacher certification routes
There are multiple routes individuals can take to become a fully certified teacher. The two most common routes are alternative certification and traditional university undergraduate programs.
Although alternative certification was not widely accepted by many education professionals when it was introduced in the mid-1990s, it is now the biggest producer of newly certified teachers in Texas—45 percent of teachers certified in 2018–2019.
Teacher attrition and new hires
The chart below shows total teacher attrition and the number of new hire teachers from 2014–2015 through 2018–2019.
- Total attrition is all teachers leaving the profession regardless of certification route or teaching area.
- New hires are teachers new to the profession in their initial year of teaching regardless of certification route or teaching area.
Total teacher attrition has remained steady at approximately 10 percent each year. New hire teachers joining the profession in the same time frame show a slight decrease since 2014–2015. The decrease in newly certified teachers entering the profession is an indication that the profession itself has not been able to attract as many new teachers as in the past.
Compensation, benefits, workload, and professional support/resources provided by the school districts may be leading factors affecting new teacher production. However, the chart below also reflects Texas schools are hiring more new teachers than losing existing teachers through attrition.
Current teacher data from TEA indicates Texas’ teacher shortage problem persists, and, while new teacher hires outpace attrition, more teachers will be needed as the Texas student population continues to grow. Recruiting in a pandemic presents a new set of challenges for districts already struggling to recruit teachers, but shortage issues—particularly in hard-to-fill areas like bilingual and secondary math and science—aren’t going away anytime soon.
Districts should be willing to move past the antiquated perception that alternatively certified teachers aren’t successful, and HR staff should explore other pathways to certification, such as grow your own programs and flexibilities allowed under district of innovation plans.
Chau Tran is a senior data analyst at TASB HR Services. Send Chau an email at email@example.com.
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