AP NEWS

Hundreds of Texas teachers leaving their jobs mid-year

April 2, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — At least 220 teachers broke their contracts and left their jobs in the middle of this school year, according to Texas state education officials.

State rules require teachers to terminate their contracts at least 45 days before the school year begins. Violators could have their teacher’s license suspended for up to one year.

Educators at a recent rally at the Texas Capitol cited poor school management and an emphasis on standardized testing as two chief complaints that spur teachers to leave, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Texas Education Agency opens a “contract abandonment” case whenever a school district files a complaint about a teacher terminating a contract early.

One in 10 teachers resign after their first year at a school, according to state records. Five years after receiving their teaching certification, three in 10 instructors have either opted to leave the profession or relocated to another state.

The overwhelming majority of teachers remain in their posts throughout the year. There are more than 358,000 teachers in Texas, and less than 1% of them desert their contracts in any given year.

The number of teachers under investigation for breaching contracts is 68% higher than last year, when the state opened 131 abandonment cases. In the 2015-16 school year, Texas opened 198 cases.

Rep. James Talarico, of Round Rock, said the uptick can be blamed in part on wages that fall below the national average.

“Expecting more and giving less is difficult in any profession, especially a profession that is as difficult as teaching,” said Talarico, who taught in middle school from 2011 to 2013.

The average salary for a Texas educator is $54,122, according to the Texas Education Agency. Nationally, teachers average $60,483, according to a survey by the National Education Association.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com