FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2022
CONTACT: Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343, firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on the formation of a Texas Education Agency Task Force (ordered by the governor) to address teacher retention:
We have a task force looking at strategies to retain teachers and only two of its 28 members are teachers. Not only is this a poor makeup for a task force, but it also is disrespectful and degrading.
Do we need all stakeholders and experts to be represented in a task force on teacher “vacancy,” as the Texas Education Agency oddly describes it? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we need to pack it with superintendents and other administrators.
Who knows better how to retain teachers than teachers who have been retained? This board should be full of them. Superintendents and administrators may know the challenges of recruiting teachers, but the real input from teachers in the trenches about the stresses they face daily is essential. In our survey that showed that 66% of teachers are considering leaving the profession, they cite professional disrespect, heavy workloads, and shrinking paychecks as the reason they might quit. And we need to hear educators’ voices on this task force now to immediately address that.
We have a teacher retention problem. This should be obvious. The least the governor could do is show some respect—respect for teachers’ experience and their perspective in their professional field. Now is the time to listen to teachers.
And by the way, TEA, it’s “Shepherd ISD” for one of your superintendent task force members, not “Shepard ISD.” You should know that, since you took over its locally-elected school board and installed a board of managers there.
Texas American Federation of Teachers represents some 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO.