Texas teacher salaries have been front and center this legislative session.  The need to increase teacher pay is something that all political sides can agree on.  How to pay for the increase is a different story, but a solution has been reached.

Why did increasing Texas teacher salaries become such a priority?

Texas wants to maintain its competitiveness and continue to raise the level of education afforded to its citizens.  That said, several forces are making this challenging.

1. A tight labor market:

With the employment rate hitting 96.2% in Texas in March (Bureau of Labor Statistics), there are fewer people looking for new opportunities.  Teaching has always been a field that paid less than other industries and attracted professionals that were driven more by making a difference in kids’ lives than the amount of their paycheck.  That said, education as an industry needs a steady stream of talented mission-driven people to serve.  Read more about how school districts are battling against this with the 90 Day Exception rule.

2. Increasing Salaries in other fields:

For example, in Houston average salaries have increased over 15% since 2006 (Payscale Houston).  In the Austin metro area average salaries have increased over 17% since 2006 (Payscale Austin).  By contrast, teacher pay has been relatively flat when adjusted for inflation.

3. Fast Population Growth:

Texas ranked 7th out of the 50 states in population growth in the past few years.  The 1-year growth as just over +1.43 percent (+399,734) with the current overall population reaching 28.3 million (2nd largest in the nation).  Migration from other countries and states accounted for slightly less than half of that growth, and the remaining growth was attributable to natural growth – births minus deaths. (USA Today)  Fast population growth increases the demand for new teachers and puts financial strain on fast-growing school districts.

If Texas wants the teaching profession to compete against these forces, improvements are needed in compensation along with other areas.

Starting teacher salaries in Texas have been competitive nationally but needed to be increased.  In the 2017-2018 school year, Texas ranked 16th overall in average new teacher compensation.  Now with the $5,000 pay increase, Texas will rank 7th overall and 1st among southern states. (National Education Association)  The range of salaries will now be $46,898 and $62,015 depending on factors like certification area, urban or rural district and unique needs of the district. (Salary.com)

Average Starting Teacher Salaries by State 2017-2018

Rank State 2018 Avg. Starting Salary Texas 2019 Proposed
1 District of Columbia $55,209
2 New Jersey $51,443
3 Federal Education Association $50,468
4 California $46,992
5 Alaska $46,954
6 Hawaii $46,790
7 Connecticut $45,922 $46,481
8 New York $45,589
9 Massachusetts $45,498
10 Wyoming $45,241
11 Maryland $45,147
12 Pennsylvania $44,647
13 Washington $42,240
14 Rhode Island $41,689
15 Delaware $41,639
16 Texas $41,481
17 Virginia $40,453
18 Louisiana $40,303
19 Illinois $39,236
20 Nevada $39,054
21 North Dakota $38,611
22 Minnesota $38,529
23 Utah $38,499
24 Vermont $38,499
25 Alabama $38,491

The other exciting aspect of this is that the funding needed to pay for this will simply come from increased tax revenues from online sales.  The Texas Legislature was able to actually reduce property taxes slightly and still fund an additional $11 billion for education.  (Dallas News)

Overall, this is a very positive endorsement of teachers in Texas.  The results of this will increase the number of talented people drawn to teach.  Those with a heart to make an impact on kids will also have better starting pay and the support of the State of Texas.

To hear how Teachworthy is preparing teachers through alternative certification to enter the classroom, listen to Whitney Krammer share how she became a teacher:

“I earned my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. I’m creative and really love people, especially children. I worked in fashion retail for a few years, but felt I wasn’t really making the kind of impact on people’s lives I wanted. I always had a desire to give back, to serve in some way. I heard about becoming a Texas teacher through Teachworthy from a friend of mine. When I visited with the Teachworthy Team, they were so encouraging and helpful. They convinced me that I had what it takes to be a world-changer by becoming a teacher.

“I was nervous at first about passing the content exams, learning how to manage a classroom, finding a teaching position and passing the PPR (Professional Pedagogy and Responsibilities Exam required of all Alternative Certified Teachers).

“Teachworthy walked with me through the entire process. The instruction was engaging and practical. The job search was much easier than I expected. I was very prepared for my first day with kids and my Field Supervisor was always available to support me. She would check in with me often and visited my classroom frequently. Her feedback was encouraging and helpful.

“I also aced the PPR once I finished the Teachworthy Training.

“Switching careers to teaching has been very rewarding. I’ve had the opportunity to influence and encourage young students that many really need a healthy adult relationship with in their lives.

“I strongly recommend Teachworthy if you are considering changing careers to teaching. Their family will welcome you in and help you become a great teacher.”