Texas teacher salaries have not changed in a decade, and new teachers have it even worse, study says

The average salary of Texas public school teachers has remained virtually unchanged over the last decade when adjusted for inflation while the average pay for new teachers decreased slightly, according to a new study by a nonprofit policy institute and a statewide teacher’s union.

The report by Every Texan and Texas American Federation of Teachers, called “The Lost Decade,” analyzed figures reported to the state by school systems and inflation numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2010 to 2020. During that period, the authors also found school support staffers, a category that encompasses a variety of roles, received modest raises but still were paid near poverty-level wages.

“When accounting for inflation as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for Texas teachers remained essentially unchanged in that 10-year period,” the report states. “The average starting salary for new teachers in Texas, meanwhile, went backwards, decreasing by 4 percent when accounting for inflation.”

An exception to the wage stagnation, the authors said, were districts’ central administration staffers, who – when adjusted for inflation – saw an increase from an average of $ 103,790 to $ 108,367 in annual pay.

Tasha Wilson, a paraprofessional at Spring ISD for almost two years who serves as a liaison of sorts between parents and teachers, is in the support staff category. When she is not working, she has been attending the University of St. Thomas in pursuit of a master’s degree.

She said she earns $ 610 twice a month for her work trying to ensure students with disabilities receive services they may need.

“I went into this line of work because my passion and my love is special education,” Wilson said recently. “I would love, would love to teach. However, the frustration and everything is not even worth it now. ”

Even the $ 116 it costs to take a test for teacher certification will be a hardship, particularly amid this period of high inflation, she said.

“With $ 610, that’s a big sacrifice,” Wilson said. “We have to be able to put gas in the vehicle. I have other expense that have come up. ”

The paper comes as some state leaders have dragged public education into the front-lines of cultural issues – passing bills to outlaw the teaching of critical race theory, accusing schools of stocking inappropriate books, taking aim at a district for hosting a pride week and telling systems they were prohibited from implementing mask mandates in the middle of a pandemic. At the same time, school districts across the nation have grappled with a teacher shortage while trying to recoup academic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Board members as well as central administrative staff have a higher expectation and responsibility to act in the best interest of the district and hold all of the cards when it comes to making the decisions,” said Zeph Capo, president of Texas American Federation of Teachers . “It does not seem to be in the best interest of the district when each of the other employee groups, particularly those that directly serve students, have a negative salary slope while the boss keeps all the value of his purchasing power and then some. ”

At Houston ISD, teacher pay has ranked among the lowest in the region. With his strategic plan, Superintendent Millard House II has proposed increasing the range of teacher’s salaries by several thousand dollars over the next couple of years.

“It’s just what we’ve been saying all along – teachers are not being compensated,” Jackie Anderson, president of the district’s largest employees union, said of the report. “Across the state, the profession has been demoralized to the point where the people who entered the profession, you know, five or six years ago, thinking this would be a career for them are walking away.”

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