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TEA creates task force to tackle teacher shortages in Texas

Posted at 8:41 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 23:28:46-04

CALDWELL, Texas — Statewide and even here locally, there's a staffing shortage in schools. Teachers are leaving the profession left and right, leaving kids without a teacher.

The Texas Education Agency announced that 24 additional teachers will join the teacher vacancy task force including Cody Knott, the band director at Caldwell High School.

Knott was selected out of over 1,500 teachers and administrators to serve on the task force and help be part of the change.

“I’m excited to be on the task force so I can work with other educators across the state to help recruit and retain good teachers for all students across the state of Texas,” said Knott.

Knott said he’s looking forward to helping find solutions on how to overcome staffing shortages in Texas schools.

“We’re in a teacher shortage and we need to figure out why we’re in a teacher shortage and the points of view from all of the teachers," said Knott.

Kelvey Oeser is with the Texas Education Agency and says they were looking for one thing in adding members to their task force.

“We were looking for this diversity of perspectives and making sure we were also hearing from teachers that were really representative of the diversity of the state,” said Oeser.

Oeser says districts have been facing multiple challenges when it comes to keeping teachers in the classroom.

“Districts have been facing a lot of challenges recruiting, hiring, and retaining great teachers in the classroom, especially coming as a result of COVID-19,” said Oeser.

She also says teachers are who help drive our students.

“We know that teachers are the single, biggest in-school factor that impacts student achievement,” said Oeser.

Oeser says the task force will meet for one year and will have a total of six meetings by March 2023, to come up with tactics to tackle the teacher shortage.

“At the very end of the task force in March of 2023, we expect to publish a report that will collect all of the resources, best practices, and recommendations into one report,” said Oeser.  

Knott says for those wanting to become teachers, perseverance is key to staying in the profession.

“Don’t give up because it gets better,” said Knott. “It is a very rewarding job. It’s the most rewarding job in my point of view because you get to see all of these kids become outstanding young adults and that’s truly why we do this.”

He then shares with us his favorite part of being a teacher.

“My favorite part about being a teacher is inspiring young people to do their best,” said Knott. “Our job is to make them the best global citizens we can.”

Kim Pagach with Caldwell ISD wishes Knott well as he is the only teacher in the Brazos Valley to represent this region.

“For him to be the only classroom teacher in the Brazos Valley,” said Kim Pagach, Director of Special Projects and Communications, Caldwell ISD. “We know that he will go represent us well. He will represent all the teachers in the state of Texas.”

The TEA teacher task force will meet bi-monthly for one year to establish tactics in overcoming teacher shortages in Texas.

Oeser says you won’t have to wait until next year for updates.

They plan to regularly publish resources, presentations, and updates from their discussions after each meeting.