The task to fix the teacher shortage in Texas

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-27 21:13:23-05

The teacher shortage has been a problem since around the time of the pandemic.

Many teachers fled out of the classroom when the virus hit, leaving classrooms overcrowded. That imbalance in student-to-teacher ratios has caused even more of a negative impact on teachers across the country.

Many left the field initially because of the virus. Now they're leaving because they're simply overworked.

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke out about the situation and ordered a task force to look into the shortage back in the beginning of 2022. That task force found increasing salaries, improving working conditions and respecting a teacher's time can put an end to the shortage.

The task force consists of educators and school administrators. Their job was to investigate why such shortages exists and provide a recommended solution to the Texas Education Agency.

The governor is also making stops across Texas, touting $10,000 vouchers for private schooling. Many say it's a money grab from public education — and the wrong idea.

“We’ve never really had a fully funded public education system, so anything you to to siphon off dollars from an already underfunded system spells concerns for a lot of district officials,“ said Tamlyn Jones, a former superintendent and currently an assistant dean at Texas A&M Central Texas.

Linda Estrada, vice president for Texas State Teachers Association, agreed.

“It's just creating a sense of false hope for some parents who think we’re gonna get some money to send our kids to private school, when the money they get won’t be enough to fund private school,” Estrada said.

Focus, she believes, should be towards the public school teacher shortage.

“The Texas State Teachers Association we are seeking an across-the-board raise for teachers from 10 to 15 thousand — and we do think its doable because we do have a $32.7 billion budget surplus," she said.

She also wants a raise for retired educators, and all of these proposals surrounding will unfold in the next Legislature.