FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 24, 2022
Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on the final report released by the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Vacancy Task Force:
“We thank the task force for its work, and we especially want to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of the 23 classroom teachers serving on the task force.
By and large, the solutions laid out in this report are practical, thoughtful, and urgently needed. This is what happens when you bring teachers to the decision-making table and give them a voice in their profession. That’s why we advocated so hard for their inclusion on this task force when they were initially left out.
This report echoes what we’ve heard and reported from educators across Texas over the past year — including the disrespect they feel in their jobs every day. When we asked our members recently, 75% of them said they did not feel respected by state leadership.
As critical as an across-the-board pay raise is, we also know that true respect is more than our paychecks. It is respect for educator schedules and home life. It is respect for their classrooms (and the size of those classrooms). It is respect for their future as retired educators.
While the report is overall positive, I want to register concern on one topic: tying any teacher’s raise to student test scores, as would happen through an expansion of the Teacher Incentive Allotment. So many factors, beyond any individual teacher, go into how students fare on standardized tests like STAAR. It is patently unfair — and a misuse of the results — to use them to punish or reward.
The devil’s in the details, and we’ll be looking at how that strategic compensation plan comes together. What’s clear: the Legislature has a mandate and a duty to act by increasing the basic allotment, raising teacher and school staff pay across the board, and making serious quality-of-life improvements to the day-to-day operations of our schools.”
The Texas American Federation of Teachers represents 66,000 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 the AFL-CIO.