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Texas Considering Financial Incentives To Attract Teachers To Underperforming Districts

August 09, 2018 - 8:34 am

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Texas is having trouble getting the best teachers and even more problems retaining the ones they have.

Texas Education Association Commissioner Mike Morath testified at the State Capitol before the State House Public Education Committee. “23-percent of new teachers came from the top third of their graduating class. In high poverty schools only 14-percent of new teachers came from third of their graduating class.” The main reason is money. In Texas the worst career in terms of money, below Social Work is education.   

Back in 2017 Governor Abbott called for the State Legislature to give Texas Teachers an across the board thousand dollar raise. The legislation never made it to his desk. Now Morath is saying that an across the board raise might actually perpetuate one of the state’s biggest problems…getting good teachers to take jobs in some of the lesser performing districts.

“You get a lot of missionaries (referring to teachers up to the challenge) because they want to work in the neediest environment, but once you get beyond missionary zeal it’s a lot easier to work in Lake Travis then it is to work in the 3rd Ward in Houston…if I’m paid the same to work in either place…basically the system right now incentivize teachers to move steadily to the suburbs as they get better and better.”

Morath spelled out his potential solution when State Representative Harold Dutton asked him why in education we send out worst people to the worst problem. “I think you have to think about the incentives that the system has structured.”

It was also pointed out that various districts have their own incentive pay structures like the successful ACE program being used by a dozen or so school districts. The problem these face is they’re funded at the local level and without financial help they’re not sustainable.