The Educator Landscape in Texas

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have paused the cost of attendance series that we introduced in the June 1 blog post. We will return to this series at a future date.

The topic of public school teachers in America is prevalent across so many conversations. Be it K-12 administrators seeking to fill open positions, higher education leadership concerned with the teacher education pipeline, or lawmakers proposing legislation to increase teacher pay, issues surrounding the preparation and retention of public school teachers is top-of-mind for many. The next several blog posts will explore various aspects of this complex topic.

Trends in Employed and Certified Teachers in Texas

Public schools in the state of Texas employ a lot of teachers. In 2020, the number of public elementary and secondary school teachers in the United States was 3.2 million, and Texas schools were home to 365,000 of those teachers (NCES 2021 Digest of Education Statistics). In the 20 years spanning 2001 to 2020, the percentage of America’s public school teachers residing in Texas rose from 9.3% to to 11.4%. This means that 1 out of every 9 public school teachers in America teaches in a Texas public school classroom. With the under-18 population in Texas projected to increase by more than 850,000 (7.6 million in 2021 to 8.5 million in 2030, or 11.3%) by 2030, the demand for more and better-prepared teachers will continue to grow.

Total Teachers Employed

  • The visualization below shows the number of employed and certified teachers in Texas during the past 10 academic years (TEA Data).
  • As you can see at the top of each stacked bar, the number of Texas teachers employed on a half-time or more basis in 2012-2013 was 328,147, and that number increased by 42,284 to 370,431 in 2021-2022. This represents an almost 13% increase in 10 years.
  • During the first nine years of these data, the annual average increase was 5,269. However, the last year saw only 134 more teachers, essentially representing no change from 2021 to 2022.

Certification Routes

  • The bar segments are based on the educator preparation program route taken by a teacher to earn their initial teacher certification in Texas.
  • The number of teachers who graduated from university-based certification programs fell from 179,460 in 2013 to 158,481 in 2022, representing a 12% decrease in headcount. 
  • Teachers completing an Alternative Certification Program (ACP) increased from 84,698 in 2013 to 124,968 in 2022, representing an almost 48% increase in headcount.
  • In 2013, almost 55% of all public school teachers in Texas earned their initial certification through the traditional undergraduate degree pathway, with almost 26% of all teachers earning their initial certification through Alternative Certificate Programs (ACP).
  • In 2022, under 43% of all teachers in Texas had earned their initial certification from a university-based program, while 34% of teachers had completed an ACP to earn their first teacher certification in Texas.
  • Due to teacher shortages, more employed teachers are teaching on a certificate other than a standard certificate (e.g., one-year, intern, probationary, emergency certificates). In 2013, 16,144 teachers were teaching on a non-standard certification. In 2021, that number had risen to 34,214 before falling slightly to 33,805. That increase is more than 110% in a decade, as these non-standard certified teachers comprise just under 10% of the total number of classroom teachers in public schools in Texas.
NOTE: The size of the chart can be increased by clicking on the “Full Screen” button in the lower-right corner of the visualization window.

So What?

The visualization above introduces just a few of the challenges surrounding the topic of public school teachers in Texas. The lack of an increase from 2021 to 2022 may signal concerns in the wake of the Covid-related disruption in public schools that may have led to greater levels of attrition among teachers. The continuing shift in the proportion of teachers coming through Alternative Certification Programs (ACP) and non-standard certification pathways presents concerns for university-based Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) related to the teacher education pipeline, as well as general concerns related to the quality of the preparation of teachers in Texas classrooms. These issues, as well as others, will be explored further in the next few blog posts on the topic of teachers in Texas public schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *