Recently The Association of Texas Professional Educators did a survey and came out with results that seem to shock some, and make others say “of course”. This survey stated that the wealthy school districts in Texas get the best teachers. It stated that the students who are most in need get the least qualified teachers.
The association presented a 60 page report that was given out to more than 5700 schools and was done during the school year 2008-2009. Let’s dissect the survey for a moment and see if we can come up with a more accurate picture of what their definition of qualified teacher is and why they seek employment with wealthier school districts.
First of all let’s take a look at the number of people/schools the survey was sent out to and how many were actually given a chance to take the survey. Some districts did not give the survey to their teachers, and some schools did not give them out once they received them. In addition, how many teachers actually took the survey and then how many took it seriously? Most teachers/people don’t do surveys. They brush them aside because they already have too much on their plate.
The survey also stated that in poorer school districts teachers tend to leave the district after a couple of years, and that the wealthier districts tend to keep their teachers for a longer period of time. They neglect to say that most of these teachers who at the wealthier school districts are the ones who left the poorer districts. They neglect to tell you that in some instances in order to get their college loans paid off, new teachers can go to a poorer, low-performing school district and work at least three to five years thereby erasing their school debt. After they have learned and improved their teaching skills at the poorer districts, they then put in applications to places where they can get more money and have better equipment and facilities. Go figure. Teachers are just like doctors and lawyers, they cut their teeth in the clinics or the district attorney’s office and then apply to the better known hospitals and law offices because they now have experience. Experience means a lot when it comes to teaching. It takes at least three years of work experience before a teacher really hits the stride of teaching.
The association wants to ask the Texas legislature to provide incentive pay increases to attract better qualified teachers to the poorer districts. They want to give them a whopping increase of about $7500, and this is a good thing. These teachers will probably still be like people in other professions, as soon as they get experience, they will go where the money and the better facilities and equipment are located. That’s just the way it is.