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.
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 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.