Thursday, May 23, 2024

Recent poll shows Texans support raises for teachers

AUSTIN (TSTA) — Most Texas voters want the Texas Legislature to address the teacher shortage by enacting an across-the-board pay raise for all teachers, not so-called merit pay for a select few, said Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina.

In a bipartisan poll conducted for TSTA earlier this session, 81 percent of voters said a teacher pay raise was one of their top priorities. This included 53 percent of Republican voters, 52 percent of Republicans in swing districts and 64 percent of rural Republicans.
In the same poll, 65 percent of voters said the pay raise must be statewide across-the-board for all teachers, not for just a few based on STAAR scores. This included 44 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Republicans in swing districts and 52 percent of rural Republicans.

The Teacher Vacancy Task Force appointed by Gov. Abbott and the education commissioner also concluded that compensation was the top issue for addressing the teacher shortage. In its report, it pointed out the need for lawmakers to pay for a “significant increase” in overall teacher salaries by increasing the basic allotment and other state funding mechanisms, he said.

Most Texas voters support raises for all teachers, explains Molina. TSTA, asserts, pay raises must be substantial. Molina said the organization is calling for a minimum increase of $10,000.

 

(Kenny Eliason / Unsplash)

In a state where the average teacher pay lags $7,500 behind the national average, the Legislature is working with a $33 billion surplus. The funding is there, Molina explains. “The political will should be there too,” he said.

Meanwhile, Texas ranked 40 on recent analysis of U.S. states based on their education levels. The ranking by WalletHub researchers, based its overall score while comparing 18 metrics, including educational attainment, school quality in the analysis, reported San Antonio Current. The analysis also considered achievement gaps between genders and race.

Despite the low ranking, Texas ranked 17 in quality of education, a category that considered number of enrolled students in top universities per capital, number of Blue Ribbon Schools per capita, average quality of universities, and other factors.

Texans’ average level of education ranks low compared to other parts of the nation, putting the state second to last when it comes to the share of the population over 25 with a high-school diploma, San Antonio Current reports.

According to Statista, approximately 21.2% of Texans aged 25 and older hold a Bachelor’s degree, while only 24.6% have a high school diploma or equivalency as their highest level of education.

Molina says the organization is seeking pay increases for support staff, who are undeservedly underpaid. This can be done by increasing the basic allotment to provide districts with the funds to raise pay for bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other employees, he explained.

TSTA is a movement to change the way public schools, their students and employees are treated. Our mission statement says it best: “The Texas State Teachers Association will unite, organize and empower public education advocates to shape public education in Texas thus providing a quality public school for every child.”

Founded in 1880, we are the Texas affiliate of the National Education Association, 3.2 million members strong. Our seven-story headquarters building is one block from the Capitol at 316 West 12th Street, Austin 78701. Call us at (877) ASK-TSTA or (512) 476-5355. The organization boasts a team of dedicated educational policy experts to represent the interests of TSTA members and students at the State Board of Education, State Board for Educator Certification and the Texas Education Agency. Here we’ll post recent testimony that we’ve presented to these agencies, and to interim House and Senate committees.

1 COMMENT

  1. We all hope and pray that this raise will be more than $2,000 based on the districts’ size. This is my 39th year at the same school and position. I understand the district can only do with what they have. The great state of Texas needs to step up and show everyone that yes we appreciate and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our teachers. Everything is big in Texas -now help teachers salaries be part of that too.

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