Investing more in teachers and educator workforce

Texas 2036 Policy Analyst Gabe Grantham offered testimony Wednesday in front of the Texas Senate Education Committee in favor of Senate Bill 9, which focuses on investing more in the teaching workforce.

Here are highlights from his testimony:

We thank you for your commitment to Texas teachers. Teachers are the largest in-school factor of a child’s academic success. It is a demanding profession that requires someone to give all of themself to students on a daily basis. As a former teacher, I applaud the work of the chair and the committee to invest in teachers, the educator workforce, and the profession as a whole.

We were excited to see this bill, as well as others from Chairman Creighton that align so closely with the recommendations of Governor Abbott’s Teacher Vacancy Taskforce. Specifically an across-the-board salary increase for the 2023-2024 school year and the increased investment in the Teacher Incentive allotment. The increase in the number of teacher designations and increased pay scales will result in more money in the pockets of the best teachers, our best teachers staying in the classroom longer, and make Texas classrooms more attractive to teachers from other states.

More dollars for technical support

We also applaud the needed investment in the technical support for local designation systems in SB 9. By allocating grant money to help districts develop and stand up their local designation system, we will be able to increase the number of districts and teachers eligible to receive these funds.

We are excited to see a long-term investment in the teaching workforce.

SB 9’s investment in Texas Teacher Residency programs provides funding to support stipends for residents and guidance for districts to modernize their staffing models. These have been shown to produce candidates who are more likely to stay in the classroom longer, and have a greater impact on student learning outcomes than other preparation models.

I’ll note that while we are for this bill because of the many great teacher pay and workforce related items, we do have some apprehension about the discipline sections and the risks there. We look forward to continuing to work with your offices to ensure that this can be done in an equitable and transparent way.

We also want to work with the chair and his staff to ensure that the structure of the Teacher Incentive Allotment is tailored around data-driven strategies and efficacy in the classroom.

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