The Teachers' Scrounge

News and comments from the world of public education. A middle school math teacher shared what he learned today.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The long haul

Texas replaces 45,000 retiring teachers every year. Unfortunately, many of these retirees are relatively new to the profession. Filling teaching positions seems to be only half of the battle, the State must discover ways to retain those teachers as well.

Hiring and training teachers is an expensive proposition. But what's more, studies indicate that experienced teachers are more effective in the classroom than newer teachers. A 2006 report from the State Comptroller, The Cost of Underpaying Texas Teachers, shows the relationship between teacher experience and student TAKS scores:


Average Years Exp. per Campus% of Students Meeting Panel Rec.
0 - 5 Years62
6 - 10 Years64
11 - 15 Years64
16 - 20 Years65
More Than 20 Years70

(Of course, I wonder how much of these results are due to teachers getting better with experience and how much is due to less effective teachers leaving the classroom. I also am curious how many campuses across the state have AVERAGE teacher experience greater than 20 years!!!)

Teacher groups want salaries increased for experienced teachers. They claim that salaries for beginning teachers have increased to attract people into the field. However, those salaries do not grow significantly with experience. A recent survey of several Texas school district shows that the difference between a starting teacher salary and a 10-year veteran teacher salary is about $450 per year. This chart shows the 2007-08 State Minimum Salary. You can see that the pay for a five-year teacher is 11% greater than a starting teacher, and the pay for a 10-year teacher is 32% greater than a starting teacher.



However, when local districts add to the state base salary, this increase in pay is actually diminished. In Northside ISD in San Antonio (on of the largest districts in the state), the current pay scale pays a five-year teacher less than 1% more than a starting teacher, and a 10-year teacher earns 6% more than a starting teacher.

These numbers are misleading, however. When the 10-year veteran started teaching, his or her salary was less than current starting salaries. The veteran has received annual raises as the entire scale was upgraded annually.



As this chart shows, 10 years ago, starting salaries were much lower. If a teacher only earned state minimum, he or she would have received a 28% pay increase by his or her fifth year, and a 70% increase by his or her tenth year. Again, these increases are lower in real life as districts augment the state minimums, but these graphs illustrate that is is deceiving to use one year's salary schedule to draw conclusions about teacher raises.

Salaries are only one component of teacher satisfaction. Teachers want to feel they are in a safe, positive work environment. They want meaningful input into decisions that affect them -- from curriculum to administration. They want to feel that they have adequate time, training, and ability to be effective at their jobs.

LINKS:

  • Texas Classroom Teacher Association's testimony to the state legislature on retention

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