House Higher Education and House Public Education met jointly to hear invited and public on the following interim charge:
- Evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the state’s teacher workforce and current practices to improve the recruitment, preparation, and retention of high-quality educators. Explore the impact of the educator preparation program regulatory environment. Make recommendations to improve educator recruitment, retention, and preparation throughout the state.
This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.
- Chair Dutton – Notes this may be the last hearing for some members on this dais
- Will be talking about how to improve the climate for teachers in this state
- Hopefully will successfully tackle this issue so teachers gain the respect they deserve
Interim Charge: Evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the state’s teacher workforce and current practices to improve the recruitment, preparation, and retention of high-quality educators. Explore the impact of the educator preparation program regulatory environment. Make recommendations to improve educator recruitment, retention, and preparation throughout the state.
Gabriela Rodriguez, Education Commission of the States
- Are a nonpartisan education policy commission; partner with policymakers and provide support
Lauren Bloomquist, Education Commission of the States
- For teachers, need enough and high quality; need to create a pipeline
- Do not have a nation-wide shortage; have specific shortages in math/sciences, rural communities, and at economically disadvantaged communities
- State policies that effect recruitment/retention
- Expanding the pool of candidates; pathway, program, incentive in statute 21 states
- Kentucky new route for teacher certification through paraprofessionals
- 13 states provide opportunities for residency programs
- Financial incentives: 70% have at least one scholarship/grant in statute to recruit teachers
- FL has science/math incentive program
- 10 have at least one incentive program in statute for currently certified teachers to fill shortage areas; Texas has one of these programs
- AL and WA cost of living adjustments in state law
- Financial incentives for teachers of color
- To alleviate teacher stress over 10 states require teacher planning time including Texas
- LA prohibits addition
- SC prohibits teachers from being required to work over 37 hrs a week without overtime pay
Steven Pruitt, Southern Regional Education Board
- Only regional compact covers pre-k trough workforce; focus on research and support states as they implement
- Have an education and workforce issue
- May be lack of data of an overall teacher shortage because there are districts who cannot fill a position, so they do not offer the course
- 3m teachers 19.4m students in SREB
- 8m student differential in the
- Have a 10% teacher turnover rate, 45% turnover with those less than 5 years of experience
- 2019-2020 4.3% emergency/emergent certified teachers, 10% teaching out their field
- 54k teacher preparation programs; decline in around 20%
- Stakeholders have developed recommendations and starting to implement some in North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Alabama
- Raising salaries alone will not fix things; are pathways and prep, professional supports, licensure, and compensation (includes healthcare and retirement)
- Need a longer period than a semester for preparation as a residency
- Are several states like Kentucky with successful retention programs
- Brought in SREB, taught us how to support teachers who are career switchers; comes done to classroom support, following teachers as they move from one career to another
- Highlights interstate compact focused on teachers moving across state lines
- Staff wants a career ladder different from traditional methods, e.g. many want to stay in classrooms rather than moving to admin, but there typically hasn’t been a pathway for this
- Take home for teachers is $30k, scales down & up over time, but take home remains in the 430k range
- Chair Murphy – You talked about a number of different programs in different states, supplemental pay, scholarships, etc.; would like lab test results to be given to committee & which programs have moved the dial
- Rodriguez – Can get you info on how these are working on the ground; can connect directly with other states
- Huberty – My data on salary differs from yours
- Pruitt – Got it from the state salary schedule
- Huberty – State minimum salary schedule is inaccurate, tied to TRS and pension payment; not the actual starting pay
- Data was based on that schedule prior to HB 3, only wait to look at states apples to apples
- Gonzalez – Do you have data on who is using your dashboard?
- Have had 8-9 states that are using this to compare retirement & health care costs
- Can look at different plans and base cost for those plans
- Gonzalez – Have heard from educators that they are using dashboard to make employment decisions; are you collecting data on individual usage and location? E.g. we see Texans using this tool to look up data
- We look at the analytics, have seen good usage in Texas, but not as much as in other states
- Hard to tell what they’re using it for unless they tell us, in general it is comparisons
- Gonzalez – Teacher retirement is a flat rate in TX, if it increases then teachers pay for it
- Chair Dutton – Where do teachers come from & how does this relate to the shortage?
- Most still coming out of educator preparedness programs
- Chair Dutton – To what extent are we not getting people from these programs
- Two aspects, some get out of the programs & also seeing significant decrease in people going into these programs
- From SREB perspective, no interest in going into education, don’t see it as a profession; salary is a major barrier, profile of profession is not one they want to be in
- Chair Dutton – Hearing that supply line drying up is causing as much of the problem as anything
- Chair Dutton – 75% of teachers in TX are women, haven’t solved the gender wage gap, to what extent does this play into the shortage problem?
- Regardless of gender we have people avoiding the profession, part rooted in salary, part rooted in not being prepared for the job, part rooted in being asked for more
- Bloomquist – No research on gender issue, but need a comprehensive solution addressing more than just financial component
- Chair Dutton – Wondering why don’t men choose to go into the profession; might have something to do with teaching not being looked at as a primary income source
- Lozano – How many hours a day are teachers working?
- Pruitt – 9, 10, 11 hours easy, also summers off is a myth
- Lozano – Recalls teacher experience in the past, did not seem to experience the same amount of stress; can we do something to lessen that burden without reducing quality? Teachers can make more working at Wendy’s
- There is an effort to deal with work climate and requirements like lessening duty schedules, additional time to meet with colleagues, educational opportunities, etc.
- Bloomquist – LA has a bill ensuring teachers are not required to participate in uncompensated training, other bill looks at restricting hours to 37.5 hours/week
- Buckley – Highlights large numbers of teachers leaving profession early on, any other states trying to tackle this? Documentation requirements are also significant
- Bloomquist – Can get back to you with data; one-size fits all solution is unlikely, need to look at retention from beginning to end
- Pruitt – Year-long paid residency is showing a lot of promise in other states; many leave in the first 5 years because they don’t feel prepared and feel alone
- Buckley – Need to take stock of core functions we’re asking schools and teachers to do, need to lighten the burden
- Talarico – Some of the bureaucracy is important, but it is a lot for one person to do; how many of these issues are for all schools versus issues for high-poverty areas?
- More highlights in district of poverty, but still seeing shortages in all urban & suburban areas; difficult to get data on
- Need to think about what we can offer students in impoverished areas and if it expands the problem
- Bloomquist – Data will help identify specific shortages, local issues to consider
- Talarico – Teaching experience in different schools can vary widely; ACE and other programs like Teacher Incentive Allotment could provide more money to teachers, have you studied these?
- Pruitt – In states where they have been thoughtful about implementation, we’ve seen boosts; there are problems that transcend these programs, like tech access, etc.
- Talarico – TX has done a good job of identifying good teachers, but hasn’t done a good job identifying the base
- States with a proactive education plan have more success, biggest challenge is not focusing too much on either/or & communicate with the field
- Meza – Appreciates comments that lowering standards is not the answer
- Meza – Do we not have reciprocal agreements with many states?
- There are reciprocal agreements, some states have better ones than others
- Currently one-on-one agreements, compact would mean any state joining would have reciprocity
- Meza – all SREB members have agreements? Asks after agreements and compact
- Not yet; more a national movement than regional
- Even if an agreement exists, if the target state’s reqs are higher, teacher may not be able to get full salary
- SREB efforts & military spouse reciprocity is trying to make it easier
- Meza – Asks after shortages in bilingual education; highlights efforts to hire more Puerto Rican teachers may not accommodate students of Mexican descent, etc.
- Bloomquist – Can look into this for you
- Pruitt – Complex issue, many needs that aren’t always apparent & need to work to consider all aspects
- Bernal – Could be a good idea to talk to teachers who have left and ask them why; more recent years have been more difficult for teachers, teachers dealing with many longstanding issues
- Bernal – have had recent overemphasis on STAAR, teachers have to deal with remote learning, books, sex education, targeting of certain students, etc.; need to address what we’ve done to contribute to this problem
JoLisa Hoover, Raise Your Hand Texas
- Highlights Charles Butt study showing 77% of teachers seriously considering leaving profession
- Spoke with many teachers; unsustainable work environment, salary, and burden of working during COVID
- Many dealing with burden of buying their own supplies, working second jobs, unable to afford COL in the area, excessive documentation, etc.
- Solutions include salaries & benefits, teacher supports, etc.
Michael Marder, UTeach
- Speaking on reducing shortage and building teacher talent pool
- Looked at data, university-certified teachers stay in teaching longer, students taught by teachers from educator certification programs learned better than alternatively certified teachers
- 3 primary recommendations: 1) create more accessible & affordable university certification pathways, 2) provide more support for teachers in first 3 years, and 3) increase transparency and accountability with prep programs
- Number of new teachers from high-quality pathways is dropping
- Chair Dutton – Do you have any reason as to why university-certified teachers are responding differently than others? Why are they declining?
- Issues with how many regulations & laws get passed for programs, tuitions have risen
- Have the largest incoming class than UTeach has seen for a decade, but unless we support students finishing in 4 years and promote stronger & cheaper programs; will see more students go to alternative programs
- Teachers with more prep and support can better navigate first few years
- Bell – Written testimony shows that students in low income areas are more likely to be assigned alternatively certified teachers, do you have data? Urban v. rural
- All of it came from TEA
- Alternative certification is mot likely in the urban areas, but difficulties obtaining teachers are serious statewide
- Bell – Often teachers discover the job is much harder than they anticipated within 2-3 years; interesting to see the prediction of a crisis point in 2026
- Bell – So would you’re recommendation be that alternative certification needs to be more difficult?
- Mainly focused on trying to make conditions for university programs better
- J Turner – Highlights data showing university-certified teacher numbers are dramatically lower than in the past, down from 12k to 2k now?
- Checked graphics, may not be the right datapoint in the graphic but close to correct
- J Turner – Astonishing that we’ve declined that low so fast, projections would be 1k soon
- Likely won’t keep dropping like this
- J Turner – Anything the legislature can do to help reverse trend on university-certified teachers
- At a tipping point so may take relatively small change to improve
- If residency is an option, that’s great, but mandatory residency carries large increased costs and time investment; would negatively impact lower-income students
- Facing large number of bureaucratic reqs that have accumulated over time
- Financial support during the student teaching semester would be helpful
- Incentive to universities in various forms to keep teacher prep programs active
- Talarico – Cautions that even when university programs were more active, still had a teacher shortage problem; what should we do to bring all prep programs up?
- Hoover – Mentoring can make an enormous difference
- Marder – Agrees on mentoring; need education about theory of teaching & mentoring support to put theory to practice
- Talarico – Highlights need to increase practical teaching education; how does residency model help get student teachers face-time earlier, etc.
- Experience with students starts earlier, much earlier than the student teaching year
- Talarico – How do we teach future teachers to build culture, community, and relationships with students?
- First emphasis every experienced teacher will bring in mentoring, actually achieving this is a different matter
- Gonzalez – Can you elaborate on late hiring?
- Inserted through SB 8 of 2011, 45 days to finish prep program; designed as an emergency valve, but fear that this could take over
- Unsure what to do about this, large-scale phenomenon now that seems integrated into state fabric
- Hoover – Puts enormous stress on campus to support person who is unprepared, takes time away from students being served
- Gonzalez – Do ISDs have to report that they do this to TEA?
- Marder – No reporting req to my knowledge, should be possible to determine by comparing prep program entry date to hire date
- Bernal – Mentorship program based on best practice, putting more money into might help
Role of SBEC and TEA in Addressing Teacher Shortage
Josue Tamarez Torres, Teacher Vacancy Task Force
- Gathering input from many perspectives on this issue; have had 2 meetings & developing recommendations; hoping to have full recommendations by 2023
- If we can keep teachers we have, don’t have to recruit as aggressively as we need to now
- 3 most common reasons people don’t go into teaching are pay, training, and working conditions
- Pay has increased, but has not kept up with COL
- Workgroup recommendations incl.: expanding residency and mentorship, expanding 1st-year compensation, ensuring health insurance is affordable and useful, and lowering admin burden
- Meeting coming up in October, planning to finalize the recommendations
Kelvey Oeser, TEA
- Sharing lessons learned from statewide initiatives to improve workforce
- On training, seeing a strong pipeline of teachers coming into the profession & coming through many pathways, but larger proportion are uncertified or alternatively certified & less likely have received extensive prep & training
- Also have large number of teacher re-entering profession
- Experience leads to more academic growth, critical to improve training for new teachers
- Solution incl expanding residency, investing in technical supports, etc.
- Legislature appropriated $1.6m/year for mentoring programs, but need more time and funding for initiatives to scale to all ISDs
- Investments over time have led to salary increases for teachers, amount of funding for salaries has increased, overall depends on LEA staffing reqs; currently student-teacher ratio has decreased to 14.5
- Texas employees more teachers than any other state, TX’s student-teacher ratio is lower than California and teacher pay is lower overall, but identical per student
- Issues related to working conditions consistently top list of reasons teachers stay or leave; overwork is often the top reason teachers leave
- Compared to other countries, teachers in the US have less time for preparation
- Teachers have lack of access to high-quality educational materials, often need to develop these themselves
Jean Streepey, SBEC
- Pandemic didn’t create the shortage, but it made the shortage worse
- Extra duties, decrease in public support, and increase in other career options have contributed to the shortage
- More than half of students go through alternative certification and prep standards are inconsistent
- Performance assessments could incentivize programs to provide more supports
- Recommends: 1) adopt edTPA as certification exam w/ 3 year implementation, 2) support develop of TX performance assessment & allow programs to use either
Charles Contero-Puls, THECB
- Highlights programs at THECB that support teachers, incl. loan repayment program, tuition & fee exemption,
- THECB launched a new initiative through Educator Preparation Planning Grants to support rigorous educator prep programs
- Cortez – California is paying teachers an average of $84k/year, significant gap with Texas; attribute this to hiring more in TX?
- Oeser – Comparison of student-teacher ratios, average salaries, and pay per student
- Cortez – So didn’t research best practices?
- Indicates there are staffing differences between TX and CA
- Cortez – Hear a lot about pay from teachers, would like to visit offline about best practices
- Cortez – Do we have any partnerships with community colleges, etc. to help license teachers?
- Have several through the Grow Your Own program
- Cortez – Familiar with Alamo? Pipeline growth, how to support that, etc.?
- Believe they are a Grow Your Own partner
- Cortez – Community colleges would be a perfect route to educator certification
- Cortez – Overwork is one of the top teacher concerns?
- Scheduling, number of classes, less on planning expectation, creation of lessen materials, training and support expectations, etc.
- Chair Murphy and Oeser discuss pathways to educator certification
- Chair Murphy – did the SBOE provide any insight on why they didn’t want to proceed with a performance assessment?
- SBEC went through the piloting program, pandemic led to worries about constricting the teacher pipeline & wish for something more Texas-specific than edTPA; this is why recs include a Texas assessment in addition to edTPA
- Importance of mentoring is emphasized everywhere; highlights lack of compensation for extra work involved in being a mentor
- Bernal – Expense comes from master teacher needing to be in the classroom, requires the district to hire a substitute
- Chair Dutton – More than half of teachers are alternatively certified, is there something legislature is doing that influences this?
- Streepey – Need teachers in classrooms who understand how to move students forward
- Chair Dutton – Not sure if number of alternative certifications is a problem or not, but indicates we don’t have a way to generate new teachers
- Oeser – Presents data on differences in retention and performance by certification route, traditional certification is stronger than alternative certification; both programs should and could improve
- Alternative certification market was able to supply teachers during the pandemic, but should implement things to make these programs stronger
- Chair Dutton – Alternative certification seems to be more the rule than the exception when it comes to supply, not sure this is where we wanted to be; is there anything we could do to improve this?
- Need accountability to be able to better regulate and support programs
- Chair Dutton – Do we have data linking student outcomes to certification pathway?
- Highlights graphic showing that alternative certification teachers have less impact on student growth than traditional certification
- Refers to UT Austin Tipping Point report showing university-certified teachers outperform alternatively certified teachers, but both doing worse with lower-income students; room to improve
- Non-profit alternative certification are performing similarly to traditional certification
- Chair Dutton – Reflective of what we’re doing or reflective of candidates
- A little bit of both; state policies have focused on growing highest quality programs
- Chair Dutton – Has THECB done anything to study incentive programs?
- Contero-Puls – Haven’t studied impact
- Bell – Seems like many alternatively certified teachers end up in lower-income 3-8s, asks Torres if he sees the same results
- Torres – Yes, these novice teachers are more likely to be in front of economically disadvantaged students
- One solution could be to make sure are rewarding alternative certification programs that are doing a good job and have a strong residency program
- J Turner – New certification program, edTPA; has SBEC confirmed this will be the new one?
- Streepey – SBEC voted on it in the spring, vetoed by SBOE in the summer
- Had stakeholder input panel and will have 2 more, will decide whether to bring this before SBOE again
- Seeing interest in having a Texas-specific assessment
- Conversations on whether this should be the certification exam or just in the requirements; SBEC voted to have it be the certification examine
- J Turner – So SBEC’s recommendation is that it would be the certification program?
- That was the last vote
- Listening to all stakeholder input and asking many to come back
- J Turner – 17 other states had adopted it, 5 have pulled back?
- Oeser – 17 currently using it, additional 5 that were but are no longer using it
- Buckley – Does edTPA add cost for the student?
- Streepey – Yes, $115 for the current exam, $311 for edTPA]
- Buckley – Some EPPs have their own form of that?
- Some want their won Texas one, or have it in the programmatic requirements to allow everyone to do their own
- Issue with this is there would be no clear benchmark for all students
- Buckley – so we some that don’t have anything?
- Have programmatic requirements
- Oeser – All candidates either have to pass the PPR or can use edTPA in the pilot
- Buckley – Goal would be to get everyone on the same one to compare programs?
- Streepey – Cleanest way to have it as one certification exam, but being responsive to those who want a Texas-specific assessment
- Not wedded to edTPA, but SBEC looked at options and research on having some type of assessment is undeniable
Are We Preparing Teacher Candidates to be High Quality Educators
Jonathan Schwartz, University of Houston-Downtown College of Public Service
- Provides overview of University of Houston-Downtown; highest retention, largest bilingual program in the state, award winning
- 95% of teachers within 75 mile radius of Houston, 87% of teachers are retained after 5 years
- UHD participates in program to recruit and train men of color to be teachers in Houston ISD
- Highlights $2m dedicated to paying down student teacher debt
Mike O’Malley, Texas State
- Highlights good metric of university-certified teachers, leads to higher retention and K-12 learning outcomes
- University program and undergrad degree can be done at the same time, lower overall costs
- Highlights Texas State focus incl. accelerated post-baccalaureate cert, earlier placement in paid residencies, focused on prep of STEM & Dual-credit, micro-credentialing
- Recommendations: should look at excessive bilingual certification requirements, policies to inspire aspiring educators of color
Fernando Valle, Texas Tech
- Highlights Texas Tech university and programs; partnering extensively with ISDs
- Texas Tech is working to provide more modes of completion to keep up with demand; e.g. 2+2 with community colleges, etc.
- Residencies require resources, but they do work & sustain candidates
- Look at shortages, distance challenges, etc. when building partnerships to develop high-quality teachers; looking to provide site & support for rural communities
- Site coordinators are a liaison between the university and the community
- Chair Button – Anyone care to comment on the alternative certification program?
- Valle – Have heard the numbers, charge is to produce quality educators
- O’Malley – Most concerned about helping aspiring teachers have access to high-quality university certification & widening access for working adult learners
- Frullo – Asks about growth
- Growth in TX has been phenomenal, but not enough; not doing enough to support rural areas & has informed Texas Tech’s program
- Goes back to quality education, 1- year experience is nonnegotiable
- VanDeaver – Comments on edTPA?
- O’Malley – edTPA is a complex issue, some deans are adopting edTPA, some have concerns
- Many have concerns with mandating an assessment that will bring costs for the students
- Interferes with the one semester model, requires a summative exam earlier on in the process
- Code requires 3 cycles of field observation, edTPA exam lands in the first cycle and opens question of why the other 2 are needed
- University EPPs are already doing performance assessment, student teaching and yearlong residency are these assessments
- VanDeaver – edTPA might have a place in alternative certification & may not apply as well to university programs?
- Possibly, but could be an uneven burden on new teachers
- Ortega – Asks after pandemic and recruitment
- Valle – Pandemic affected recruitment heavily, Tech is now courting high school students
- No more lines to get into programs, institutions have significantly changed & recruiting in a deficit of candidates
- Ortega – Numbers have increased?
- Tech was stable this year, but want to be increasing
- Ortega – Are there some programs you’re suing that are better than others? Still trying to do new things?
- Always trying new methods to recruit
- Ortega – Parity between alternative certification and university certification?
- O’Malley – Difference among retention between alternative and university, parity would mean less vacancies
- Huberty – What do you think is working relative to your program among other universities & programs?
- Schwartz – Paying residencies, Grow Your Own scholarships, etc. are very exciting
- Huberty – Costs/barriers?
- O’Malley – Aides are often present in the classroom, would make great teachers; Grow Your Own program assists, but financial burden for aides is often difficult to meet
- Also need to think of unintended consequences with edTPA and various routes we put in place
- Valle – Bilingual teachers also face numerous requirements and costs are very high
- Huberty – Shortage across the state for bilingual teachers?
- Huge number, likely in the thousands
- Schwartz – 10k as a guess
- Huberty – So that is $10m we’re talking about
- Huberty – Amount of new teachers required per year?
- People are saying 20k/year
- Huberty – So $50k per teacher, $1b to pay for the teacher shortage, adding the bilingual around $1.1b; next panel should tell us to pay for it
- O’Malley – Around 26k were placed in schools throughout 2020
- Chair Dutton – Less than $2b
Clifton Tanabe, University of Texas El Paso
- Provides overview of UTEP; yearlong residency provides support during a critical period, allows teachers to enter teaching much like second year teachers
- Highest quality educator training grounded on field training is the best option, low quality training is the opposite
- Two costs to residency program, residency stipends and hiring/training field faculty; risk moving forward would be to be undercapitalized and under-resourced
Abby Harper, Texas A&M Commerce
- Provides overview of Texas A&M Commerce’s Pride Pathway; competency-based model, submitting an exceptional item via the LAR; 7-week course with a subscription model
- Accept up to 90 transfer hours
- Ortega – UTEP program if it continues to grow will produce 900 teachers, but funding is unreliable; what do you need from the legislature?
- Tanabe – Would take some attention to stipends, UTEP has invested into site coordinator structure; scale is a challenge
- Ortega – So UTEP itself has made changes to increase numbers, but you need assistance on stipends?
- VanDeaver – How many students have gone through the Texas A&M Commerce Pride Pathway program?
- Harper – Has been in place for roughly 6 months so no student currently; all over Texas we have roughly 100 enrolled
Anthony Hernandez, Urban Teachers
- Provides overview of Urban Teachers, post-grad program paid residency program where candidates receive coaching; following residency candidates become a teacher of record, provides extensive knowledge and training
- 9 out of 10 principals believe candidates from Urban Teachers are well-prepared to teach
Diann Huber, iteach Texas
- Variation exists among alternative certification programs; iteach provides opportunities to a diverse population
- Not getting full picture of uncertified teachers teaching in DOIs, on emergency permits
- Recommends allowing accountability measures to consider internships/residencies, etc.
Justin Lonon, Dallas College System
- Provides overview of Dallas College System teacher prep program; first institution in the state to launch a residency program as an apprenticeship program, allows students in Senior year of bachelor’s degree to enter into paid apprenticeships in partnership with ISDs
- Legislature should consider how to build out a larger teacher apprenticeship program
Trent Beekman, Teachers of Tomorrow
- Recommends: 1) elevating the profession and 2) incentivizing entering the profession
- Talk of teacher dissatisfaction and exiting teachers is common, need to return teaching to level of respect and appreciation; statewide outreach campaign could have dramatic impact on perception; cost is also a large barrier for candidates
- J Turner – On Dallas College System program, offers a bachelor’s degree, focus still on early childhood education?
- Lonon – Program is a little broader than this, candidates can be paid $30k/year to be placed at ISDs
- J Turner – Too early to tell on retention and other metrics, but what is your sense of that so far?
- Hope is that relationships with ISDs will drive retention
- Huberty – Asks witnesses to speak more on students served; also asks after costs and capacity of programs
- Huber – Individuals come to iteach without needing to pay for coursework; working to attract parents, etc.
- Lonon – Started the District Select program this year, district pays costs and then can select candidates
- Career changers make good teachers, experienced
- Huber – iteach uses SalesForce, other online platforms
- Huberty – How many do you teachers end up getting hired out of alternative certification?
- Huberty – So 30k total for alternative certification?
- Huber – Looking at data, as DOIs go up, alternative certification goes down; could be roughly 40k
- Huberty – So $200m to pay for these candidates; scholarships through the ISD could be good for your programs and the community college level as well
- Hernandez – Ability to pay those while they are in residency is important
- Chair Dutton – One of the things we’ve heard today is that alternatively certified teachers are leaving more often, do you agree with that?
- Beekman – Retention rate for teachers 5+ years in our program in 75%, state average is 65%
- Chair Dutton – Would be in direct conflict with what we heard earlier
- Don’t have data for 0-5, but this is 5+ years
- Chair Dutton – You’ve supplied 29k teachers?
- Since 2018
- Chair Dutton – Would be interested to know the retention rates for these teachers
- Huber – Market now has a lot of career changes, new generation changes professions more often than older generation
- For alternative certification these are often individuals who have another career & want to teach for 3-5 years before retiring again; looking at population might explain variation
- Chair Dutton – Why would alternative certification be more affected by those leaving profession more than anyone else?
- Hernandez – Urban Teachers looks for those wanting to stay, residency model helps teachers stay in the classroom
- Enhancing amount of time resident and aspiring teachers spend with students, combined with mentorship, can help teachers stay long term
- Chair Dutton – So you don’t agree alternative certification teachers are leaving at higher rates?
- Don’t have this data, won’t contradict earlier testimony
- Meza – Heard from many about Grow Your Own, can apply to bus drivers, teachers’ aides, etc.; seeing this at Dallas College?
- Lonon – Yes, highlights apprentice who is a former bus driver
Grow Your Own Program
Danny Massey, Superintendent Brazosport ISD & Staff Christi Kirshner
- Discussed various programs they have instituted such as grow your own
- Paid clinical teaching positions, diminishing numbers of teachers entering the profession
- Worked on cohesive talent development strategy
- First on ramp develops need of HS students, second on ramp is for apprentices who started college experience but not yet received their associate degree (largest group), and a grow your own model
- Onramps allow for interest to help get educators in the system and ensure representation of their community
Vincent Solis, President of Brazosport College & Staff Shelly Diviney
- Committed to supporting non-traditional students, first generation students, economically disadvantage students, etc
- Thrilled with results of creating a sustainable pipeline to meet community needs
- apprentice age is 29.5 years old
- Goal to provide affordable education in a timely manner
- Also focus on maximizing transfer credit
- Partnership with Inspire Texas is key part of success
- Able to start alt cert while getting their bachelors
- Academic advising aligned with workforce needs is also critical to the success of the program
Rebecca Hampton, Education Service Center 4
- Expanding Access to underrepresented
- Brazosport College focus is reengaging students in the college
- On job training use of micro credentials
- School district is at the center of the partnership
- Huberty – asked about cost? How many students do this serve? The commitment to address the teacher shortage is going to cost something
- Kirshner – under $18k, don’t want to sacrifice quality or class sizes, they are with mentors
- Kirshner – this is a new funding landscape, but as a public employer they are not eligible for some funding for apprentices
- Kirshner – the maximum they can produce is 75, 25 in each onramp (Dutton gets confirmation on how many can be served and how many are in the program)
- Diviney – it could be scaled to meet more of the need
High Quality Teachers
Scott Muri, Superintendent of Ector County ISD
- Had 18% vacancy rate in 2019 but today vacancy rate is 1%
- First strategy is compensation, 1st year starts at $58k and have raised the floor
- Revisit the compensation plan every year
- Recommend increasing the basic allotment for district to incorporate strategic compensation
- Avid user of teacher incentive allotment, today teachers can make over $100k
- Principal incentive allotment, developing this currently modeling it after TIA
- Recommend continuing to fund the TIA and fund development of Principal Incentive Allotment
- Staffing – opportunity culture, teachers that grow children at a remarkable rate teach for half of the day and mentor other teachers for the remaining half of the day
- This is self-funded
- Now have teachers making more than administrators
- Request technical support/assistance to help districts develop strategic staffing
- They operate own educator prep program, recommend technical assistance and support any district that wants an educator prep program
- Teacher residency model, recommend full funding for ISD, college/university that their teacher residents received full funding
- Have partnered with college and Universities to help bring in more workforce
- Texas Scholar Program – Texas teacher scholar program to provide full ride for best and brightest to get teaching degree
- Received $2million grant to provide coaching
- Aligned mentor program with standards developed by board of National Teaching Standard
- Recommend continue to fund teachers as they continue to move toward national teaching certification
Roosevelt Nivens, Lamar CISD
- Personal story of mother who suffered from mental illness
- Making sure they provide support every day
- Decided to give their staff members mental health days (no questions asked, 2 days per year)
- Have a program with University of Houston and partnership to have reduced tuition
- Paying a stipend for reading academies, and how can they allow for a masters degree
- Have mentorship programs in their school system
- Look for legislation to enhance the teaching profession
Christopher Mayes, Beatrice Mayes Institute
- Grew up in 3rd Ward
- Stick to core values, has to stick to educating the kids
- School has to continue to teach and communicate
- Teachers in elem are also engaged with same student in HS, culture
- Help teachers get through certification program
- Support teachers in discipline of students
- Also support teachers going home and getting refreshed, give teachers a break
- Leaders of schools make sure parents focus on education when students get home
- Don’t allow their quality to go down
Mike Miles, Third Future Schools
- Schools in Texas are 1882 partnerships
- Reduced vacancies with a lot of programs similar to Muri, also program that informed TIA and started ACE program which is now statewide
- Things they did in 2012-2015 are not sufficient any more
- Not enough talk about outcomes, points out various campus successes, need to fill vacancies and get outcomes
- Prediction on how workforce is changing, teachers want more work life balance
- Teachers are no longer willing to wait for 15 years for a decent salary, thinks ladder needs to be moved
- Making a difference for lower wages, thinks generations wanting to do this has decreased
- Proposed 8 strategies, differentiate compensation (like a hospital model, avg salary is around $74k)
- Eliminated a lot of non-instructional tasks (teachers don’t make lesson plans, power point presentations, or grade papers), teachers only do one hour of duty a week
- Consultants do pianos and spin class
- Many teachers are teaching two classrooms at one time, so they can raise money across the board
- Hire apprentice teachers to learn trade on the job
- Teacher coaches making copies, doing lunch duty
- Permian basin has had teacher shortage, give $75k salary and $10k bonus to move them there for one year and then will move them anywhere in the network
- If teacher is sick have kids zoom into another classroom, don’t use subs
- Recommend continue to allow districts to design innovative staffing models
- Expand TIA and ACE programs which allows higher salaries
- Maintain accountability, outcomes orientated
- Would create a teacher corp for Texas
Dave Lewis, Rochelle ISD
- 4-day school week, explains TIA from his POV
- 20o+students and 20+teachers
- Had to teach bell to bell, class time can’t be interrupted with pep rallies
- Learned to teach a different way, argues big districts can do this
- TIA problem, only district in region received TIA
- District has paid out $104k to TIA, 1/10 of the budget
- First year gave to everyone, now more will go to those with designations
- TIA cannot be used as retention, many of their teachers went to districts that paid more to teachers with designations
- Can target teachers in small school
- Wish they had not applied for TIA
- Should give bonuses to great teachers
Pam Awbrey, Compass Rose
- 40% of their teachers left education as a whole, these teachers have skills in other industries and the industries are pursing them
- Teachers going to private profession
- Charters can innovate a bit, not enough studies to show certifications mean quality teachers
- Have strengthened pipelines through grow your own and pay 75% of cost to residents
- Have increased salaries in high cost of living markets
- Sponsor VISAs for international teachers
- Piloting 4 day work week in one of the schools
- Need funding, and request stay to pay for residency and developing initiatives for teachers
- About to have the largest and unexperienced educator workforce if they don’t put funding toward professional development
Q&A of Panel
- Huberty – It’s clear smaller schools struggle with TIA, maybe there is something different that could be done differently for smaller schools
- Lewis – need something to help the school be competitive
- Huberty – Congratulates Muri for SOTY recommendation
- Meza – are we counting different kinds of experience teachers come with and regarding higher compensation, wants comments on merit-based pay
- Miles – the read question is what outcomes do you want, Dallas had highest achievement growth and has highest salaries
- Miles – for smaller schools the evolution around teacher pay is like a hospital model, differentiate based on value they bring to the organization
- Miles – saying the value of 3rd grade sports is not the same as reading and have incentive pay on top of that
- Miles – covers the metrics for proficiency (30% achievement, 40% quality of instruction, 15% school plan, 10% on student survey)
- Meza – how do you feel about micro-certification?
- Miles – ok for teacher prep programs, but will make sure they have high quality instruction in the district and will coach them regardless of the micro credentials
- Bell – commends Rochelle ISD
Michelle Martella, Comal ISD
- Crisis, not adequate special education personnel
- Not only increasing eligibility population but decreasing ability to serve the children
- Fast Growth District
- IDEA requires all students receive FAPE, compounding litigation concern
- It’s a comprehensive approach: remove retire rehire penalty, appropriate state funds toward stipends, grants, etc
- Put special education teachers on TIA and recognize them as hard to fill
- Could certain people already in the pipeline be converted to special education with compensation
Lizdelia Pinon, IDRA
- Emergent bilingual learners need bilingual educators
- Shortage of bilingual educators that serve 1/5 of Texas students
- Texas needs 50% increase of bilingual educators and only fills need of 20%
- Recommends: remove barriers for teachers to become bilingual educators, extra burden of 5 exams as compared to a generalist that needs only 3
- State needs a better way to test language skills
- Address need to pay for the exams, give incentives to district or waive registration costs
- Increase support for recruitment and create a pathway from students in classroom to classroom teacher
- Course for skills on teaching bilingual students and English as a second language
- Talks about challenges of being a bilingual teacher
- Challenge is not only finding the teacher but addressing the invisible burdens
- Provide technical assistance and financial incentives for districts working on recruitment and retention and address needed salary
Patrick Powers, Dallas Fort Worth Teacher
- Representing 2% of black male educators
- Tells a person story of a student, created an inclusive environment and saw a student succeed as a result
- Discuses various contributors that impact teacher workforce
- 5 solutions suggested: 1) budget specifically for classroom supplies and learning projects, 2) creation of teacher learning communities both regional and statewide, 3) contact database to make connections amongst other educators, 4) teacher access to lesson plans and video instructions, 5) instructional videos to enhance on skills and best practices
Tonya Davis, Computer Science for Texas
- Computer Science and STEM Teachers
- It’s a matter of national security, research surrounds this thought
- Taking strategies from Army on recruitment
- Need to recruit future teachers, can do some things for gender pay equity
- Require high standards and maintain them, continues to compare and contrast military service to that of a teacher (ie manage expectations such as making many contacts to get one requirement)
- Agrees with method of using national and international advertising
- Pro-actively recruit through community, use personality profile tools to get right teachers at the right schools, an open hiring practices, consider financial incentives, recruitment specialist at each educational service center, make changes to pay structure
- Get the facts out is working on getting out the message of teaching
- Also suggests flexible work options (team teaching, 4 day work week, etc)
- Promote teacher engagement to build up culture, recognize the contributions and encourage so teachers feel valued
- Meza – Discussed recruiting efforts to get bilingual Texas to North Texas, they couldn’t get them to move from South Texas
- Organizing is celebrating 50 years in the next few months
- Meza – powerful that Powers is representing black males, she taught Spanish and worked to find out what students liked and pulled them in
- Meza – can’t afford to right off the Latino community, need to include and feel like attack on Public Education
Dr. Selena Vinceroy Smith, Former educator
- Brief personal history. From a family of educators
- Took school from F to B rating in one year
- Wrote a $50,00 grant that was awarded to her campus
- Workload for teachers increased by 81% in 2022
- 42% of teachers leave workforce within 5 years
- Addressing teacher shortage should not involve lowering criteria. Makes it easier to become a teacher but not stay a teacher. Contributes to why teachers leave in the first place.
- Need to ensure fidelity of HB18 which increases mental health supports
- Suggests including funding for mental health days for teachers
Tonya Tazmin, Austin ISD Teacher
- Too many demands on teachers, not enough time or compensation
- Suggests teacher retention: investing in the teachers we currently have, and recruitment of new teachers will follow
Marissa Hernandez, Teach Plus
- Previous job did not support equity among teachers and students, climate caused her to leave
- Reviews recommendations in slides, including DEI Training, establishing a diverse teacher work force, statewide mentorship programs with mentors of color, and an accountability system for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Yvette Peña, Teacher from San Antonio
- Teachers who enter the profession without proper preparation are 3x more likely to leave the career early
- State should push districts to invest in educator preparation programs
- State funds should be used to make programs affordable and accessible to recruit a diverse group of educators
- Chair Dutton – Doesn’t want this to be the end of communication with teachers, encourage you to speak with state reps
- King – One thing we haven’t discussed much is your safety; money is one thing, not sure how to legislate good behavior, what is your advice to address that?
- Peña – Students at their core are good, they want to be heard. When teachers are prepared for what happens in the classroom they can better handle these situations. Goes back to preparation and support in the classroom.
- Chair Dutton – Recently heard from a teacher that if a fight breaks out in the classroom, there is a district directive that the teacher not get involved; to what extent can teachers be involved in that and what are they responsible for?
- Smith – Our job as educators is to look at that behavior and determine the underlying cause so proper support can be given. When teachers are trauma informed they are better prepared to do this and realign behavior in the classroom
- Chair Dutton – I understand that, but I’m asking what do you do if a fight breaks out in a classroom?
- May have to get involved, pull them apart
- Chair Dutton – So there’s no school rule saying you can’t touch your student?
- There are
- Tazmin – That’s why we are told to not get involved, because the district won’t support you legally if something happens to you
- Chair Dutton – So if you get hurt trying to break up a fight, the district won’t protect you? You can’t file a workers’ comp?
- Well they already aren’t compensating me, so I don’t think so
- Can’t be redirected when the system isn’t set up for that; punishment doesn’t have to be punitive
- Hernandez – Smaller class sizes would help manage class discipline
- King – Seems that there is a lack of respect for teachers; how do we redirect the cultural shift to respect teaching as a profession?
- State leadership needs to speak in a way that lifts up their teachers
- Chair Dutton – Had a hearing on discipline previously where school psychologist asserted lack of educational achievement caused negative behavior
- Lack of discipline is a breakdown of communication, don’t think, educational achievement and discipline are related
- Chair Dutton – They could be saying “we’re not learning”
- More about collaborative effort, not just to the teacher
- Chair Dutton – Students who are successful don’t cause as many problems as those who aren’t achieving academically
- Hernandez – Many teachers may teach to the strengths of certain students, hence the opportunity gap; if teachers can’t connect with students, students who can will be successful, students who can’t won’t be
- System is also very punitively focused & doesn’t need to be
- Vinceroy – Regarding respect for teachers, respect doesn’t come from discipline; cultural shift happens through changes in school culture, compensation, involving teachers in decisions, trusting teachers
- Gonzalez – Part of a larger societal conversation, young people haven’t been given all of the tools to navigate complex society
- Tazmin – Making sure teachers, students, etc. are trauma-informed & using SEL; teaching students how to deal with emotions and respond appropriately is key
- Gonzalez – Often hear that this is the parent’s job, how do you deal with this
- Vinceroy – Has been a big shift towards trauma-informed care & lab practice
- Tazmin – School should be seen as hub of the community, should be a bridge between parents & school
Seal Brant, Former Trustee
- Should listen to those teachers that quit, forming big part of the message discouraging new students from entering the profession
- 3 major reasons: 1) state testing is stressful to teach & teachers shouldn’t be treated poorly during the prep period, 2) teacher pay, and 3) poor behavior
- Highlights issue of retiree teachers needing to be out for 1 year, schools being punished financially for rehiring retirees
- Children today are not like children in the past, more disruptive; older disciplinary models don’t work
- Discipline problems can be attributed to home issues, mental health issues, etc.
- Received money from the federal gov, could be used as seed money for psychologists in schools
- At Orange Grove ISD, tried to identify aggressor in the fight & called police who then contacted parents; need to get parents involved
- Requiring teachers to file charges when a teacher is struck is wrong; school should be filing charges
- Big school districts have a separate campus for students with discipline problems; could do a cooperative campus for smaller districts, similar to special education
- Biggest complaint from teachers is with administration and lack of effective leadership
Brandon Jenkins, Galena Park ISD, Call Me MISTER
- Gives history of career working in education; currently a special education aide at Galena Park ISD
- Creating social spaces for students to interact with faculty and peers is important, paid residency gives students financial stability & lets district hire qualified teachers
- Highlights burden of taking multiple exams, cost of taking exams, lack of paid residency opportunity, etc.
- Recommends: 1) support pathways to certification for edu aides and others; prior experience should align with certification requirements, 2) should support education & training programs, incl. apprenticeships, and 3) make high-quality education programs more accessible
Lisa Parker, Spring ISD
- Many stakeholders struggle from learning gaps, problems exacerbated by the pandemic
- Many districts have family liaisons to assist, but learning gap is widening; many families lack tech or ability to teach tech skills & burden is ion teacher
- COVID showed that change must come from families & community working with ISDs
- Mental health professionals are needed in schools
- Highlights crowded schedule throughout the school day, admin burden, documentation burden, etc.
- Need parents, students, and elected officials held to the same high standards as teachers; need some of burden to be taken care of
- Professional development should be led by teachers; should have more collaborative effort
- Every elected officials should substitute at schools in their district & develop solutions without increasing burden on teachers
- Cuts should focus on the top officials
- Lozano – Brant wanted to add something?
- Brant – Colleges play a big role in developing leadership, principals need practical classroom experience
How to Retain High Quality Educators
Lonnie Hollingsworth, Texas Classroom Teachers Association
- Should consider doing a teacher salary increase next session, should fund & direct ISDs to use funding for this purpose; can do this by increasing basic allotment & add statute to guarantee increases above salary step
- Also include flexible funding provision to cover allotment differences; similar equalized funding mechanisms done in 1999, 2001 for health insurance premiums; need to also address health insurance
- HB 3 did increase salaries significantly, but did this by increasing the salary schedule
- Language exists for teacher salaries, but threshold is too low & difficult to challenge mis-payment due to timing of checks
- Teacher Incentive Allotment will not drive overall salaries, intended to raise cap
- Can increase retention by dealing with working conditions, can eliminate non-teaching duties & encroachments on autonomy
- State should incentivize good managerial behavior, incl. restoring funding for the working condition survey
- TCTA suggests strengthening & enforcing Education Code that allows teachers to receive support from campus admin & behavioral specialists; many ISDs exempt themselves from this requirement via the DOI plan
- Should increase School Safety Allotment to allow for behavioral specialists
Keri Griffith, Texas State Teachers Association
- Speaking on teacher pay; need to think more broadly than average salaries, teachers with advanced training & experience are poorly compensated
- Texas is slightly better than average on starting salaries, but better than terrible is still not great
- Average salaries in TX trail by $7.5k, accounting for inflation teachers make less than 10 years ago
- Thinking in terms of wage competitiveness
- Female teachers are making less than similarly educated workers elsewhere, male teachers are making $.65/$1 compared to nonteaching jobs
- Salary schedules don’t reward longevity in TX, advance degrees & training aren’t fairly compensated
- National Board certification component of the Teacher Incentive Allotment does drive interest in getting certified; supporting this one aspect of the TIA, detached from measures like STAAR and recognizes inherit value of certification
- Recommendations: 1) increasing base pay, 2) adjust for inflation, 3) salary schedule recognizes longevity, 4) introduce variable pay structure
- TSTA has a Moonlighting & Morale survey for members that highlights costs of teaching; spend $537 on health insurance each month, $850 on classroom supplies for a school year
- Many who haven’t yet quit are moonlighting with 2nd or 3rd jobs to meet family needs, negatively impacts teaching
- Recommendations: 1) state should increase contribution to health care, ISDs should kick in more than $150 required, 2) should expand loan forgiveness & scholarship opportunities for teachers
Dr. Andrea Chevalier, Association of Texas Professional Educators
- Provides overview of ATPE; working with other stakeholders as part of the Texas Coalition for Educator Preparation (TCEP) in the community on educator prep
- Working with SBEC on assessments as well
- Inconsistency in EPP is one of the key problems, part of this is how EPPs are sequenced & when teachers get into the classroom; in alternative certification teachers usually enter on intern certificates
- Also seeing inconsistencies across the ISDs, incl. DOIs, late hire provision, etc.
- SBEC & SBOE have discussed SBEC authority to hold programs accountable for a program requirement; SBEC has a variety of accountability tools
- Need to incentivize aspiring educators to choose prep route that is effective for them, currently incentivizing faster, easier, and cheaper only
- Recommendations: 1) expanding eligibility of financial aide programs, loan forgiveness, etc., 2) clarify criteria for performance assessments, 3) need to improve the PPR exam, look at things like cut scores, look at other exams, etc., 4) teachers on intern certificates need to be supported more, 5) ensure mentor program allotment is funded
Jacob Stewart, Early Care in Education Consortium
- Provides overview of ECEC
- Early learning is also experiencing a staffing crisis, 86% of centers are reporting shortages
- Expanding partnerships between preschools, childcare, and ISDs could help address shortages
- Building new classrooms is expensive, important that classrooms have appropriate setup for young children; trying to provide early child care solely through ISDs will be insufficient
- Bell – Bill was passed that lowered penalties for disruption of class; does this need to be repealed, do we need to hold children accountable? Commissioner Morath testified to issues faced by teachers
- Hollingsworth – Did not take a position on the bill, proponents were concerned it was criminalizing behavior for young children
- Concern was that teachers have support and can send students to the campus behavior coordinator’s office
- Repealing this won’t necessarily move the needle; some school security has overreacted & been more hands off than necessary
- Support for teachers & enforcing laws on books is important
- Bell – All you have now is ISS and DAEP; can’t hold students accountable, DAEP is the only option for students fighting
- Were involved in developing the AEPs in 1995, not sure it was the right thing to change these to “disciplinary” alternative education programs; more a behavioral tool than punitive
- Chair Dutton – Solution in the past was to expel children to the street, DAEP change was to allow for child to be removed from the classroom into another educational setting; haven’t improved DAEP settings
- This led to suggestion to increase the School Safety Allotment
- Bell – Some students wait to commit acts until they are on school property
- Fights shouldn’t be affected by the bill, not a Class C as it is assault causing bodily injury & removal is permitted
- Chair Dutton and Hollingsworth discuss police on schools
- Hollingsworth – Believe police need to be independent
- Bell – Need to protect teachers and ensure one child doesn’t disrupt the classroom
- Stewart – Highlights info stating that access to high-quality early education leads to better outcomes later in life
Brian Guthrie, Teacher Retirement System
- Speaking on Employment After Retirement Restrictions, many put in place during the early 2000s when the pension fund was struggling and retirees saw a revolving door for employment
- Employer surcharge was one of the measures, amount an active teacher would be making to the retirement system if they were hired instead of the retiree
- Chair Dutton – So retirees returning do not pay into the retirement system?
- Chair Dutton – So this causes a cost to the state?
- From 2005 until last session, TRS was agnostic as to who paid the surcharge, sometimes districts did, sometimes it came from the retiree’s paycheck
- Chair Dutton – Was the surcharge be more or less than what the retiree would’ve paid in?
- More from the retiree’s perspective as it covers the retiree and the state match
- Chair Dutton – Why is that?
- Retirement system receives the full amount, someone would need to pay difference to be made whole
- Chair Dutton – Why wouldn’t the state pay it?
- Retiree is no longer a member so state doesn’t have the obligation
- Chair Dutton – IF the retiree comes back they pay this?
- SB 202 last session changed this, district cannot pass costs to the retiree; districts now on contribution for the entire contribution
- Chair Dutton – So now it disincentivizes districts to hire retirees
- Have heard this anecdotally from retirees; have heard from other retirees that this has been good and led to pay increase as the district is covering the amount
- Chair Dutton – So district has to be in dire need to hire a retiree
- From a fiscal perspective, not a huge dollar amount; roughly $30m into the pension fund, $40m if you count TRS-Care
- Options include state making district whole, could also be addressed in the settle-up process
- Chair Dutton – Is this more urban than rural?
- Haven’t seen a trend, diving into data but have heard from both large and small districts that this is a concern
- Bell – What is the quantity of retirees going back to work? If you don’t collect the amount will it actually affect actuarial soundness?
- Equates to about a year of unfunded liability
- Numbers depend on how long the retiree sits out, bill last session allowed certain retirees to come back without restriction, roughly 370k retirees who could come back
- Since then, have had people retire that could come back with restrictions, roughly 37k
- 35k have come back
- Bell – So roughly 10%, you’re losing roughly 16% of the salary value of 10% of the total population
- In 2005, TRS was in a different place, funding period was never
- Bell – If this goes into perpetuity, it would only increase actuarial length by one year?
- Bell – If we Sunset, it might bring it down to months?
- Haven’t run numbers, but would be less
- Huberty – We’ve been collecting surcharges on something retirees won’t benefit?
- System benefits, retiree does not
- Huberty – Supplementing others with this; how many years did we cut off by adding this surcharge? We’re collecting something we’re not going to pay
- Don’t know, but more than one year
- Huberty – Have made system more sound on backs of retirees without paying out; if they came back, and they paid the 8%, why couldn’t we adjust pension commensurate with what would’ve been paid
- Theoretically could do this, IRS restrictions and fair calculation would need to be addressed
- Huberty – Setting bad policy without paying out, but if retirees get a benefit, they may be willing to pay
- Bell – So long as you don’t get rehired as a principal or superintendent, based on last 3 year average
- This would be part of the complicated calculation
- Bell – Don’t have a reset on the average
- Huberty – Average pension check out there right now for those coming back to work?
- Huberty – So $3k after 30 years, $100/year; if we could adjust it might incentivize districts to hire
- Tax law and other implication exist, but not impossible and worth exploring
Brock Gregg, Texas Retired Teachers Association
- Provides overview of TRTA
- Highlights things done in anticipation of shortage: 1) date change allowing for full-time retiree hires, 2) penalty reduction with warning system for those going over hours, 3) 2 exceptions to the one year rule
- Retirees need a COL increase, needs to account for inflation
- Bill changing surcharge had good intentions, but has caused districts not wanting to hire
- Getting rid of retire-rehire rules gets in the way of giving retirees a benefits enhancement
- Should give teachers a big pay raise, but allowing teachers to retire and immediately return to work, will impact financial soundness of the system
- Main goal is to ensure ISDs have the teachers they need
- Possibilities incl. moving back to old system, lowering the surcharge for retirees, possibly cutting it in half
- Huberty – Those last couple suggestions could add years to the pension fund; agree that we shouldn’t change retirement age, but won’t get to a COLA with skyrocketing health care and Rx costs
- Huberty – Would be helpful to know the number you would need to put a permanent COLA in place
- Guthrie – Haven’t run a number on permanent COLA, would be much more than the numbers we’re talking about currently
- Looked at Rep. Capriglione’s bill with a 6% COLA, would be $3.6b if paid up front
- Fund may not have room to finance, but if we could, would take the fund to 31 years
- Huberty – Talking about a significant surcharge, this would be an appropriate use of funds; 6% is ongoing
- 6% ongoing
- Gregg – But that’s capped @$100/month
- Guthrie – Would be 6% one time, not 6% each year
- Huberty – IF you put a 2-3% on forever every year?
- Have not modeled that, would be extremely expensive
- Bell – You put a certain amount in per month and get an amount at the end
- Yes, defined benefit plan; those that do have COLAs have much higher contribution amounts
- Bell – Discusses the retirement age of 62, wasn’t there a buy up if you retired earlier?
- This changed in the past
- Bell – If someone retired for 25 years, and the 3 year average was set to when they retirement, there is an equity issue with those retiring now
- Could tier the 6% adjustment, so those who retired 25 years ago would get a much higher amount; ways to address hits in a COLA
- Bell – Talking about this opens Pandora’s Box, gets very expensive very quickly
- Those that cost the most would be the ones retiring now, tiering for those retiring earlier wouldn’t be as expensive as the ones retiring now
- Gregg – Did this in the 90s with the CPI catch up, tiered structure took 4 sessions; this is possible
- Allen – Number of retirements with strikes? What are the strikes?
- Applies to 37k retirees that retired since 2021
- Strike system was very strict before, 3 strike system scales from warnings to annuity reductions, you lose annuity at 3rd strike
Rebekah Ozuna, Former Pre-K Teacher
- Left teaching during the pandemic, students and teachers experienced large amounts of trauma
- Would’ve stayed in the classroom if some best practices were put in place like smaller classrooms, expanding teaching outside the classroom, etc.
- Large classes, polarizing politics around teaching, etc. affecting teachers and causing retirements
Dr. Claudia Treviño Garcia, Texas Association for Bilingual Education
- Testifying on experience as a bilingual educator; need highly trained & qualified EL teachers
- Need teachers that reflect the culture and language of students, has provable impact on outcomes
- Recommendations incl: 1) creating more equitable bilingual certification process, 2) increasing funding, and 3) creating pathways for assistance to become teachers
Meredith-Leigh Pleasants, Good Reason Houston
- Provides overview of Good Reason, supported Grow Your Own pathways, paid residencies, Teach.org partnership
- TX should develop easy to use website for EPPs to provide info to teachers and ISDs
Celeste Brown, Compass Rose Public Schools
- Teaching in schools is a partisan issue, those who haven’t stepped into classrooms are passing laws that affect classrooms
- Surveying teachers; so far 87% of teachers surveyed have stated that laws affecting what can be taught have impacted education
- Should listen to teachers, teachers and students will feel impact the most from these decisions
Steven Aleman, Disability Rights Texas
- Have a personnel crisis in special education; is not just about teachers/paraprofessionals, are about other specialists
- Agree with recommendations from Dr. Martella from Comal ISD
- Agree with TRS relaxing allowing retired special education teachers to come back
- Agree with employing behavioral specialists at a regional level through service centers
Lena Angel, Self
- Teacher from Katy ISD
- Job has become more stressful especially during the pandemic; overviews the additional requirements, responsibilities, etc.
- Teachers need to be provided a curriculum
- Teachers need the time, compensation, and respect that they deserve
- Students are not the main issue here
Issa Pilgrim, Self
- Teacher from Central Texas; teachers have pushed through the hardest two years
- Tired for our love for students being “weaponized”
- Lowering of certification requirements is not the solution; exacerbates the responsibility of current teachers
- Notes a number of teachers have been leaving the profession due to the working environment
- Harsher discipline is not the answer for school; all teachers need to be trained in social/emotional/trauma responses
- Are groups of people politicizing SEL; ask the committee push back against that
Dixie Ross, Self
- Retired teacher now serving as a substitute due to the retirement of mid-career teachers
- Need to scale some of the good things going on in order to fix this issue
- Teachers need respect and legislature needs to act on this during the upcoming session
- Dutton – Will join teachers to correct what needs to be corrected to ensure all children are educated
Robert Carreon, Teach for America
- Former teacher, currently works for Teach for America
- Need a diverse set of pathways into the classroom
- Financial incentives are a good way to get people in the door; need to do better in elevating the profile of teaching profession
- Intentional partnerships with student organizations at colleges/universities is a good way to get students interested in teaching earlier
- Need to engage students earlier; have opportunities for college students to be virtual tutors
- Need a teacher pay adjustment, but need to think of this as an end-to-end issue
Katrina Miller, SAS Institute
- Work with organizations, states, and school districts to know what is going on in the workforce
- Recommend creating a system of data to understand where the gaps lie, who most effective teachers are, and what incentives work
- Recommend TIA program expansion providing data back to districts/campuses
Daniel Doher, Educators in Solidarity
- Former teacher in Austin area; teacher retention correlates with student poverty levels
- Highest poverty schools are not furnished with the conditions teachers need
- Need additional mental health professionals especially for lower income schools
- Need to reimagine the accountability system; give systems local accountability like in HB 22
- Notes there was/is a lack of respect for teachers throughout the pandemic and now
Austin Hickey, Self
- Education student; important to identify those who want to go into education early on
- Recommend not lowering the standards, propose a budget-neutral pay differential pilot program for hard to staff/teach positions
Steve Swanson, Self
- Retired and 30-year public education volunteer
- Universities need to start seeking responsibility for those who govern education; especially lawyers who assist in crafting legislation
- Notes in previous session trauma-informed and human trafficking education laws were deemed “redundant” – bills that would help our kids are not getting done
Kimberly Ralph, Educators in Solidarity
- Teachers are feeling over-worked and under compensated
- Need to focus efforts on retention and recruitment of “returners”
- Need to consider unintended consequences of future legislation on teacher attrition; HB 4545, reading academies and other programs have proven to be an additional burden on teachers
Alejandro Peña, Texas AFT
- One of the primary drivers for teachers leaving is lack of respect for teachers as professionals
- Is a lack of compensation and additional work without corresponding pay
- Will provide the committee with additional data on workplace conditions
Shay McDonald, Self
- Former teacher current counselor; need to make changes as this is not the same profession
- Concerning planning, just because it is on paper, does not mean districts are following them
- Districts are currently asking educators to do what is beyond appropriate; teachers cannot self-advocate
- Response is being catered to parents who are uninformed and angry; notes she cannot attend school board meetings as they have become dangerous for school personnel
- Chair Dutton – Notes this is Huberty’s final hearing; thanks him for his service
- Huberty – Hope is these committees work together on this issue