Texas AFT and Every Texan released a report highlighting “The Lost Decade” in Texas, a period in which underfunding schools has led to educators making less money than ever, with students facing the consequences of a crisis in keeping our teachers in the classroom.
As Texas AFT reported in February, a survey of its members showed that 66% had considered leaving their profession in the past year, and they said the primary motivator for keeping them in public education was increasing their salaries. “The Lost Decade” report unfortunately backs up their contention of low pay because it shows, on average, teachers are making 4% less than they were in 2010 (after adjusting for inflation). While 4% is the average, statistics show many educators making upwards of 12% less. Meanwhile, many support staff employees are still teetering at the federal poverty level with embarrassingly low wages.
The report explores how the latest school finance law, while initially plugging more money into public education, is mainly being used to reduce property tax rates and is not giving public education funding the ongoing boosts it needs to combat declining school employee wages. The report also looks at other issues driving teacher turnover and proposes solutions to address the challenges.