A recent poll found Texas teachers are considering leaving their profession due to a number of factors, ranging from low salaries to high stress levels.
According to a recent online survey conducted by the Charles Butt Foundation, many teachers in the state of Texas are dissatisfied and want to quit.
Of the nearly 1,300 teachers polled, the majority chose the option stating they had “seriously considered” leaving their teaching profession this year. This percentage is up 19% from two years prior and 9% from last year.
Those who participated in this survey were chosen at random by the Texas Education Agency from its 2020 roster of all teachers in the state. Every teacher selected for the survey participated.
The Charles Butt Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded by (and named after) the chair and CEO of H-E-B, which is the largest privately held employer in the state of Texas.
The survey asked teachers what, if any, steps they have taken towards acting on their consideration of leaving the profession. The answers reflected that 93% of teachers had begun preparing resumes and attending interviews for positions outside the education field.
“That’s a huge, startling number,” Shari B. Albright, the president of Charles Butt Foundation, said of the recent surveys. “We need for our public schools not only to survive but to thrive and flourish.”
Texas has recently seen a teacher shortage. In an effort to help incentivize teachers to stay, some larger districts like Houston have budgeted for larger teacher salaries. Smaller districts across the state that are not able to offer the same competitive salaries instead are offering things like shorter work weeks, with four days instead of five.
Gov. Abbott formed a task force last spring to help develop new ideas to get teachers to remain in school positions.
The Charles Butt Foundation survey indicated that teachers who said they feel unfairly compensated are earning $50,000 or less a year. The survey also showed teachers feel that morale is low and many ongoing training sessions must be done unpaid and on their own time.
Of those polled, 97% said in the survey that a positive work environment would help keep them in their jobs. Less than 47% said they felt their current workplace met that standard.
“I fear an exodus, [but] it’s not inevitable,” Albright said.
This is not the first survey to find many teachers wanting to exit their field. In August, a Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) poll determined that 70% of teachers were on the cusp of quitting the profession, up from 53% when it was last conducted in 2018.
“Lingering stress from the pandemic is a factor, but it isn’t the only one,” explained TSTA President Ovidia Molina. “Inadequate pay, political attacks on educators, and the failure of state leaders to protect the health and safety of students and school employees also have combined to drive down the morale of teachers to the lowest level in recent memory and endanger our public school system.”