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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