Why are Teachers Getting Beaten up in Texas?

In an effort to understand why schools are so unruly and teachers are getting assaulted let’s go back in time to where it began. This prospective will be mostly from Texas since I lived through it in Texas.


The Texas assessment program began when the 66th Texas Legislature enacted a law requiring basic skills competencies in mathematics, reading, and writing for grades 3, 5, and 9th.

1980 -TABS

As required by statute, Texas assessed minimum skills in mathematics, reading, and writing with the Texas Assessment of Basic Skills (TABS) tests.

April 1983

It began with the release of the report “A Nation at Risk” report. It basically said schools are failing and not being held accountable.

July 13, 1984

Texas passes HB 72

Teachers were required to take a basic reading, writing and math tests.

The first introduction of “No Pass, No Play”

Administrators were told they could no longer walk the turds to the door and send them on their way.


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) implemented the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills (TEAMS) examinations. TEAMS was the first statewide assessment that students were required to pass to be eligible to receive a high school diploma.


The implementation of another criterion-referenced testing program, the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), shifted the focus of assessment from minimum skills to academic skills. The TAAS reading, writing, and mathematics tests were administered in the fall to students in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Spanish versions of the grade 3 tests were administered to eligible English language learners (ELLs).


There were many adjustments and refinements to the TAAS Tests.

2002- NCLB (No Child Left Behind)

Passing and implementation of NCLB at the federal level. It imposed more regulatory restraints on schools across the country.

This was the brain child of George W. Bush, former Governor of Texas and POTUS from 2001-2009. He thought testing and punishment worked so well in Texas that he would make it an nationwide policy.


The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) replaced TAAS as the primary statewide assessment program. TAKS was designed by legislative mandate to be more comprehensive than its predecessors and to measure more of the state-mandated curriculum, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and administered in two additional grades. By law, students for whom TAKS is the graduation testing requirement must pass exit level tests in four content areas—English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies—to graduate from a Texas public high school. Spanish versions of TAKS were administered in grades 3–6.

2003-2011 there were many variations of TAKS TESTS.


Since 2004 PBMAS reports have been produced with specific district-level data for each performance indicator and since 2016 the reports also included four SPP federally required elements.  State-level PBMAS reports were first produced in 2006 and regional reports in 2007. (This was the next big game changer. It compared data of in-school suspensions, out of school suspension, or sent to alternative school (DAEP), and expulsions between SPED and Non-SPED students. If the ratios were inconsistent, then the district was required to write a “monitoring plan” on how they intended to address the discrepancy. In response, most districts created policies to limit the number of students being suspended or sent to DAEP. Their response was pat them on the head and send them back to class. Problem fixed, no report to write. Also, as part of this process they limited the number of students being served through SPED services which also reduce the numbers.

The concept was consistent with the idea that, if a teacher sends to many office referrals, then they must be a bad teacher. If a district has to many suspensions then they must be a bad district.

2011- STAAR/End of Course Exams

EOC assessments in Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, world geography, and U.S. history were tested operationally; EOC assessments in English II, English III, and world history were field-tested. STAAR 3–8 field test items were “embedded” in the TAKS live test form with the exception of grades 4 and 7 writing that were stand-alone field tests. STAAR EOC English II, English III and world history assessments were field tested for the first time in 2011. In addition, the other nine STAAR EOC assessments—Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, world geography, and U.S. history—were administered as operational tests. (The person who wrote the original description above failed to acknowledge that in the beginning the law required passing 15 tests to graduate high school. It was later amended to 5; English 1, English 2, Algebra 1, Biology, and US History).

2013- SENATE BILL 393

SB-393 Added a new subchapter to the Texas Education Code, Chapter 37 (TEC . 37.144) related to criminal procedures related to issuing citations, sanctions, and prosecuting students for certain offenses. It is important to first define relevant terms that are used throughout this bill. This bill defined a child to be at least 10 years of age and younger than 17 years of age. A school offense is defined as an offense committed by a student enrolled in a public school that is a Class C misdemeanor other than a traffic offense committed on property under the control and jurisdiction of a school district (§37.141(2)). SB 393 includes several components. First, in the event there is a conflict of law, SB 393 overrules SB 1114 as applied to a school offense allegedly committed by a child. While an officer may take a child into custody under §52.01, Family Code, the officer may not issue a citation to a student who allegedly commits a school offense.

Furthermore, TEC §37.144 allows for the development of graduated sanctions for certain school offenses if the district commissions peace officers. This process allows a student to complete alternative sanctions (e.g., complete community service or receive tutoring) rather than pay court-related costs. These graduated sanctions are required to be placed on the child before a complaint may be filed. The graduated sanctions system must require (1) a warning letter issued to the child and the child’s guardians, (2) a behavior contract specifying the behavior that is required or prohibited from the child, (3) the completion of school-based community services by the child, and (4) the referral to counseling, community-based services, or other in-school or out-of-school services that may address the child’s behavior. If the child fails to adhere to the graduated sanctions, the school may file a complaint with a criminal court. The complaint must be sworn to by a witness to the behavior in question. A school employee must attach a statement to the complaint detailing if the child is eligible for, or receives, special services and the graduated sanctions mentioned above. Additionally, certain courts, probation departments, or school districts may employ a case manager for at risk children. The case managers will assist the court in administering the juvenile docket. Furthermore, the case managers may provide prevention services for at-risk children as well as intervention services to children engaged in misconduct prior to charges being filed.

On August 29, 2013 The Texas Tribune did an analysis of SB-393 and how it would impact schools. The side-by-side table towards the end tells the whole story.

The State of Texas has systematically taken away all the control from schools and made them a dangerous place for teachers and students. There are no protections in place any more. The school shootings are just another symptom of the problems created by the loosening of the ability for schools to make decisions that are in their best interest. Laws have tied administrator’s hands behind their backs.

When people outside schools ask, “How did we get this way?”. It’s very simple, the officials that were elected, passed this laws that set education back a long way, then they are responsible, mostly. We as the voting public are also responsible for putting them in office.

This past week as I was working on this article an administrator at the ninth graded center at my former campus was attacked, then beaten to the point of having a seizure while trying to break up fight.

The philosophy behind SB-393 was that we were creating a “school-to-jail pipeline”. In some cases, it was true. Students were issued tickets, then did not complete the court required consequences, then they landed in jail. That was a choice they made, not the system. Children/young adults that are fourteen, fifteen and sixteen know the difference between right and wrong, or should. If they don’t, then that is a parental problem, not the school problem.

If we truly want to see changes in schools, then it can’t start at the state capital. It must start at home with parents. Parents must teach their children the difference between right and wrong, then hold them accountable when they do something wrong. We cannot nor should we expect a bunch of self-serving politicians will improve public schools as well as making parents and students responsible for their actions. In Austin currently, they are spending the majority of time attempting to pass a voucher bill that would take funding away from public schools rather than passing bills to improve gun laws or improve school safety.

We must do better.

David R Taylor

34 Year Teacher, Coach, and Principal

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When Kids with Diabilities Accept Vouchers, They Abandon Their Rights — Diane Ravitch’s blog

A reader named JCGrim posted an important fact about vouchers: Voucher schools are not required to comply with the federal law that protects the rights of students with disabilities. Vouchers are a backdoor scheme to make kids with disabilities disappear. Move them off the books & into unaccountable, unstable, non-transparent places. The Council for Exceptional […]

When Kids with Diabilities Accept Vouchers, They Abandon Their Rights — Diane Ravitch’s blog
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Florida: Stand Up to the Big Bully Ron DeSantis! — Diane Ravitch’s blog

I had the pleasure of speaking by Zoom to a meeting of the Pastors for Florida Children. The event was reported by Baptist Global News. The morning session was also addressed by Baptist minister and retired Arkansas Judge Wendell Griffen. Although we have never met, our messages were in synch: Do not let the authoritarian […]

Florida: Stand Up to the Big Bully Ron DeSantis! — Diane Ravitch’s blog
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Florida: Legislators Plan to Lower Age to Buy Guns from 21 to 18 — Diane Ravitch’s blog

After the massacre of students and teachers at Parkland High School in 2018, the Florida legislature raised the age for buying a gun from 18 to 21. That decision was just upheld by a federal appeals court. However, the Florida legislature wants to lower the age back to 18, so as to restore the Second […]

Florida: Legislators Plan to Lower Age to Buy Guns from 21 to 18 — Diane Ravitch’s blog
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Response to Developing a Thriving Teacher Workforce in Texas

Below are the eight points of emphasis identified by report produced by The Texas Education Agency titled “Developing a Thriving Teacher Workforce in Texas” and compiled by Teacher Vacancy Task Force. I found most of it to be the same tired political crap that always comes from Austin. In Bold/Itallics you will see my commentary for better ideas that will do more to solve the teacher shortage problem than the suggestions that they provided. My short version states that there needs to be much improved salaries, more state contribution towards health insurance, better staffing practices, and changes to the discipline procedures.

David R Taylor

Retired Teacher, Coach, and Principal


  1. Increase Overall Compensation and Support Strategic Compensation Strategies
    1. Fund a significant increase in overall teacher salaries by increasing the basic allotment and other state funding mechanisms, while increasing the requirement that school systems invest new funding in teacher salaries
    2. Update the minimum salary schedule to reflect the value of Texas teachers and promote differentiated compensation
      1.  There must an increase at the state level in the minimum teacher salary. It is currently $33,660 per year and rises to $54,540 after 20 years, it increases at an average rate of 2.45%. The state salary scale stops at 20 years. At that point districts are responsible for any increase in the salaries of their most experienced teachers.
      2.  Raise the state minimum to $55,000 (districts currently with salaries about the minimum will increase all current teacher salaries by $21,340) to match the increase.
      3. The state will create a salary scale that spans 40 years, with greater yearly percentage raises given to teachers with the most experience. Currently the highest percentage raises are given to teachers in the years 6-10. The percentage then steadily declines until it is very minimal.
      4. Additional degrees and certifications should be recognized and paid from the state and not local districts. Stipends should look like this:
        1. Doctrate-$7500/yr
        2. Master’s Degree – $5000/yr
        3. Special Education/Science/Math- $3000/yr
        4. Bilingual- $2500/yr

C. Provide technical assistance for school systems to engage in strategic compensation, including through the Teacher Incentive Allotment, established by the 86th Texas Legislature, and staffing considerations to further increase and differentiate salaries.

      1.  This is a waste time and money. Just compensate everyone fairly and then if you wish to award special money, then it can be supplemental instead of money to supplant the states responsibility to properly compensate its teachers!

 2. Enhance Teachers’ Total Compensation Package

      1.  Reduce the cost of healthcare insurance for teachers I started sounding this horn almost 10 years ago when I wrote two pieces for my blog (I Almost Got a Pay Raise This Year!!! and I Almost Got a Pay Raise This Year- The Follow-up). In those two articles I address the state’s pitiful effort to provide proper health insurance at a reasonable cost. One year I had a 25% INCREASE IN PREMIUMS. I ended up taking a $400 a month pay cut from the previous year. The state must be required to increase their contribution every 2 years, rather than never. The amount they contributed has not changed since the inception in 2003. Each legislative session the salary scale must be increased relative to the cost of health insurance premium cost. If the premiums increase by 3 percent each year, then the new salary scale must be increased to meet the increased cost. Not educator should have to take a pay cut due to an increase in health premiums.
  1. Prioritize teacher wellbeing through mental health supports, expanded access to childcare, and other benefits.
      1. The easiest thing to do is starting taking tasks of their plates and stop adding new ones.
  2. Temporarily subsidize the retire/rehire surcharge.
      1. This should just be abolished.
  1. Provide Incentives and Support for Hard-to-Staff Areas
    1. Subsidize certification and hiring incentives for Special Education and Bilingual Education Teachers.
      1. This must include Math and Science Teachers.
    2. Create targeted marketing campaigns and incentives to recruit teachers back into the profession. iii. You can market all you want but until working conditions and salaries change, then it is just a waste of money.
    3. Collect and report real-time data about teacher vacancies in tandem with the development of a statewide teacher employment web application. T
      1. This should have been done fifteen years or more ago. It is long overdue.

Training and Support

  1. Improve the Pipeline and Pre-service Preparation of Novice Teachers
    1. Expand high-quality Grow Your Own pathways for high school students and paraprofessionals seeking to become certified teachers.
      1. If this is to change, then the students need to see that their teachers are being treaty fairly with proper benefits and compensation before they will even consider a career as educator.
    2. Establish and fund a Teacher Residency pathway and expand educator preparation program capacity to produce teacher residents through technical assistance support.
      1. There must be a review of the data into what is causing the significant decrease in the number of college students enrolled in teacher preparation programs.
  1. Expand Training and Support for Teacher Mentorship and Teacher Leadership Opportunities

All the items in this category are a matter of TIME! Mentor teachers and new teachers must actually have time to work together in order for any of this to work. Currently the way things are scheduled and duties assigned, these programs become an easy casualty. This must occur during the normal workday not as an extra outside school time. If it must be outside then to the mentor and mentee must both be compensated for their time.

  1. Develop cooperating teacher and mentor teacher trainings that leverage job-embedded and research-based best practices
  2. Increase funding for and scale of the Mentor Program Allotment established by the 86th Texas Legislature
  3. Provide opportunities and technical assistance to create and expand teacher leadership roles Translation: We want teachers to do more and not pay them for it. If they accept leadership roles, they those roles should come with titles and promotions, not just more work.
  1. Provide Access to and Support for High-Quality Instructional Materials
    1. Expand awareness of and access to high-quality instructional materials to reduce time teachers spend searching for and creating materials.
      1. Teachers need more preparation time. Not time in training, not time in collaborative planning, they just need time alone to do what they need to get done. Grade papers, write lesson plans, contact parents or whatever they need to do to be ready for students to arrive. Honestly teachers need two 45 conferences periods per day. One for meeting/training and so on and one for the teacher to do their work.
    2. Require educator preparation programs to integrate instruction on understanding high-quality instructional materials into coursework and provide training for faculty/staff on curriculum and assessment literacy best practices.
      1. The problem with this is the Alternative Certification program circumvents this whole process.

Working Conditions

  1. Demonstrate Respect and Value for Teacher Time
    1. Develop and conduct teacher time studies with school systems to inform staffing and scheduling policies and decisions.
      1. There have been plenty of studies. This is just a method of kicking the can down the road so that it will be ignored a little longer.
      2. Set a maximum teacher load -Secondary no more than 140 students per teacher
      3. Reduce class sizes. In most larger districts they use 30 or 35 per class to determine the number of sections of a subject and therefore the number of teachers needed.
      4. Below is just an example of how the number of teachers needed changes with the 500 students need Class X
Students Per Section Number of Sections Number of Teachers (7 classes per)
500 35 14.28 2
500 30 16.67 2.5
500 25 20 3.0
500 20 25 3.5
      1. Generally speaking, schools with a high rate of Free and Reduced Lunches have larger class sizes.
    1. Provide technical assistance to school administrators to redesign master schedules that increase teacher time for planning and development.
      1. This a funding issue. There must be more funding so that more teachers can be hired. Then teachers will be able to have their 2 needed conferences.
    2. Expand training and technical assistance supports for school systems to design and implement strategic staffing models.
      1. This sounds like blah, blah, blah. Baffle them with BS. Just throw a bunch of buzz words at them to confuse them and they will go away.
  1. Schoolwide Culture and Discipline Supports

Chapter 37.006 must be improved. It lacks adequate discipline tools to address student behaviors in regards to teacher safety. The following must be added to Chapter 37.006

      1. Threats to (strikes, hits or does bodily harm to) a school employee (teacher, teacher assistant, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, or administrator). This must be a mandatory 45 instructional day DAEP placement.
      2. Assaults (strikes, hits or does bodily harm to) a school employee (teacher, teacher assistant, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, or administrator). This must be mandatory 180 instructional days DAEP or JJAEP placement.
      3. Vandalizes (damage that exceeds $100) the property (residence or vehicle) of a school employee (teacher, teacher assistant, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, or administrator). This must be mandatory 90-180 instructional day DAEP or JJAEP placement.
    1. Expand access to additional counseling staff, services, and partnerships that support both students and teachers.
    2. Provide preparation, training, and ongoing coaching for school administrators on best practices related to school discipline and fostering a supportive learning environment.
      1. I once heard a coach state “You either Coach it or you allow it”. There is too much being allowed because districts and campuses don’t want to face consequences from RDA formerly PBMAS in terms of being required to write a monitoring plan. If it is allowed, the then the problem will continue to get worse. Put some tools in the administrator’s bag so they can do their jobs more effectively.
      2. Repeal Senate Bill 393. Allow law enforcement to hold students accountable for behavior that interrupt the learning environment for others.
      3. Provide resources for the development of more Alternative Campuses. Not all students fit in the “sit and get” model”. They need a different option. Expand more vocational programs. Expand more Work Based Learning programs.
      4. Previous data tells us the over 80% of all students graduating HS in Texas will not get any form of a college degree, Associates or Bachelors.

 This picture sums up most of the problem.

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Texas: Unmasking The Campaign to Privatize Public Schools

Mimi Swartz, a writer for the Texas Monthly, explored the background, the funders, and the consequences of the well-coordinated campaign to privatize public schools—by defaming them and discrediting those who run for local school board seats. She focuses on the travails of one dedicated school board member, Joanna Day in Dripping Springs, Texas, who contended […]

Texas: Unmasking The Campaign to Privatize Public Schools
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Texas: How Charter Leaders Profit by Buying Property, Paying Rent to Themselves

The Houston Chronicle is shining a bright light on some of the shadiest real estate deals that enrich charter school operators. What could be better than to get a charter, buy property, rent it to the charter at rates of their choosing, get the property made tax-exempt, and make a bundle using taxpayer dollars? In […]

Texas: How Charter Leaders Profit by Buying Property, Paying Rent to Themselves
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Stephen Owens: The Public School Is the Best Choice for a Just Society

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch’s blog: Stephen Owens is an evangelical Christian who has thought deeply about the importance of public schools in our society. He has a Ph.D. In education policy from the University of Georgia and is Director of Education at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. His blog is called “Common…

Stephen Owens: The Public School Is the Best Choice for a Just Society
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Florida: Will DeSantis Be Able to Hide the History of Atrocities Against Black People in His State?

As Governor Ron DeSantis stirs up passions over hot-button issues and declares his state the place “where WOKE goes to die,” African Americans in his state are determined not to let him bury their history. Why is he so eager to suppress the teaching of Black history? His campaign against “woke” and against “diversity, equity, […]

Florida: Will DeSantis Be Able to Hide the History of Atrocities Against Black People in His State?
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Texas: Don’t Make the Same Mistake as Arizona: Vouchers Are a Fraud!

The Texas Observer published a warning to the Texas legislature: Take a close look at the Arizona voucher programs. Don’t go there. Vouchers subsidize private school students while defunding the public schools that still enroll the vast majority of the state’s students. Like many other typical teenagers, James’ favorite periods in school are P.E. and […]

Texas: Don’t Make the Same Mistake as Arizona: Vouchers Are a Fraud!
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