According to a recent report from the National Education Association, public school teachers in Texas are paid less than the national average by more than $7,500.
In the 2021-2022 school year, Texas teachers will be paid an average of $58,887, which ranks the state 26th in the country.
New statistics on first-year teacher remuneration and top earnings for seasoned teachers are also included in the NEA’s report.
“Texas offers one of the most dramatic examples of grossly deficient pay for experienced teachers,” the NEA states in a matching study on average salary for the 2020-2021 academic year.
However, while the starting salary for new teachers in Texas is on par with the national average of $44,527 (an increase of about $2,700), veteran teachers in Texas earn on average $13,000 less than their American counterparts. Texas has the 43rd-lowest score in the country in this category.
Teachers’ union head Ovidia Molina believes the discrepancy reveals one of the reasons why Texas school districts find it difficult to hold on to their best employees when they develop expertise.
“We are seeing educators come in and they do a couple of years and they get burnt out because of all the other stresses and because they see no path for growth as far as salaries,” Molina said. “They have to have other jobs. They have to do other duties. They have to turn to administrative work in order to make more money in education.”
About one-third of new teachers in Texas quit the profession after five years, according to TSTA, an NEA affiliate
Teachers in Texas now earn 1.5% less than they did in the 2012-2013 academic year. According to the NEA, the average classroom teacher income has declined by 3.9% over the last decade at the national level.
More money for public schools, says Molina, may help raise teacher salaries to the national average level. A new task committee Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Education Agency to set up last month in order to solve staffing difficulties in public schools should begin by raising education spending in the next state budget, she said.
“We love to be number one in Texas. We should be looking to be number one in this area to ensure that we get the best educators and that we keep the best educators in our public schools,” Molina said.