After establishing a Teacher Vacancy Task Force to address the growing crisis of public educators leaving the teaching profession, the Texas Education Agency has opted to add 24 teachers to sit on the task force. Prior to this decision, TEA received widespread criticism for its initial iteration of the group, where school administrators and others outnumbered teachers 26-2. As Texas AFT argued, educators in the trenches are essential to gain true insight into the teacher exodus and declining numbers seeking teacher certifications.
Among the 24 new teacher representatives are three Texas AFT members—belonging to our local chapters in Corpus Christi, Fort Bend, and Amarillo ISDs. TEA is scheduled to hold its meeting with these added educators as a whole group on June 2, with meetings held every other month until the task force concludes its policy recommendations before the next legislative session in January.
Texas AFT remains skeptical about what results will come from the task force since we already know what is needed to retain and recruit educators—give them the respect and the pay they deserve. We further recognize that the task force additions don’t reflect representation from the largest independent school district in the state: Houston ISD.