Over the last decade, Houston-area schools have seen significant shifts in the teaching landscape. Good Reason Houston has analyzed the data and below are three top insights to help inform those in the education field.
Insight #1: Decline in average teacher experience
Most Houston-area ISDs saw decreases in average teacher tenure since 2012, showing teachers are staying with a district for less time. Six Houston-area ISDs saw their average teacher tenure decline by a year or more from 2012 to 2022. And similarly, average teacher experience has declined or stayed flat since 2012 at many—but not all—Houston-area ISDs.
Insight #2: Inflation adjustments and teacher salary
Adjusted for inflation, teachers in many Houston-area ISDs earned thousands of dollars less, on average, than in 2012.
- Only Spring ISD teachers saw a meaningful increase in adjusted average salaries from 2012 to 2022.
- Sheldon ISD saw a slight increase in adjusted average salaries from 2012 to 2022.
Insight #3: Increase in first-year teacher rates
As teacher turnover ratios have increased, so has the proportion of beginning teachers at most Houston-area ISDs and charters. Channelview ISD, Spring ISD, and YES Prep all saw double digit increases in their beginning teacher rates since 2012.
Putting Data to Action
The data paint a clear picture of teacher retention in the Houston area that echoes challenges felt across the state. Texas commissioned the Teacher Vacancy Task Force to study the teacher shortage crisis and provide recommendations for policy changes that would support the recruitment and retention of educators. The Texas Legislature proposed bills to implement the Task Force recommendations that were ultimately not successful in the regular session. In addition to overall salary increases, if given the opportunity, policymakers should continue to pursue:
- Strengthening the teacher preparation pipeline by funding a teacher residency program. The Legislature proposed bills in the regular session that would have implemented a teacher residency partnership program that would provide future educators with paid on-the-job training with a mentor teacher in pursuit of their teaching certification. This would not only provide many aspiring teachers with a meaningful pathway to the classroom but also serves to increase the pool of highly-qualified educators.
- Expanding the Teacher Incentive Allotment. The Texas Legislature created the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) to provide qualifying school districts with funding to directly compensate highly-effective educators. Designated teachers currently can receive between $3,000 – $32,000 additional compensation. Proposals have been made to add an additional tier of designation to reach more teachers and to further increase the allotment amounts for each tier. Expanding TIA would provide more opportunities for our most effective educators to receive a significant compensation increase.
- Providing additional support beyond compensation. On top of a focus on compensation and teacher preparation, the Legislature considered a number of supports that could strengthen school districts’ ability to retain educators. Potential opportunities include waiving certification exam fees, establishing pre-K eligibility for children of classroom teachers, and implementing a teacher time study to reduce time teachers spend on non-instructional duties.
To delve deeper into this analysis and explore additional insights, view the full report here.