With the demand for teachers expected to increase, almost one-half (44 percent) of Texas teachers surveyed recently say they are seriously considering leaving the profession.
This is the result of the latest "Texas Teachers, Moonlighting and Morale" study conducted by researchers at Sam Houston State University. In the first such study, conducted in 1980, three out of eight (38 percent) said they were seriously considering getting out of teaching.
The study was begun by David L. Henderson, professor of education, who is now retired. It has been conducted every two years, and has now been taken over by professors Daphne Johnson, Marilyn Rice and Samuel Sullivan and student Abigail Beard.
The survey was conducted in February and sent to a random sample of 700 of the 70,000 members of the Texas State Teachers Association. A total of 177 usable surveys (27 percent) were returned.
"While the demand for new teachers is expected to increase, the projected supply of new teachers is not expected to be sufficient to meet the demand," the researchers wrote in their 2008 report. "Shortages are expected in such fields as special education, foreign languages, bilingual education, mathematics, physical science, physics, and gifted/talented."
As evidenced by the number of teachers who hold second jobs, poor pay is a concern. But poor working conditions are even more of a problem, they say.
Asked why they are considering leaving the profession, 42 percent of the teachers responding cited poor working conditions, with poor pay given by exactly half (21 percent) of that number. Two years ago 36 percent said poor pay was their biggest complaint, which was exactly equal to poor working conditions.
The average annual salary of teachers surveyed in 2008 was $47,545. Having an extra job brought in another $8,288, according to the survey. For the population as a whole, about 5 percent of all U. S. workers hold second jobs, according to the report, which is less than a third (17 percent) of teachers who do so.
"Moonlighting adversely affects teacher recruitment, job stress and teacher efficiency," the report stated. "Changes such as better salaries, merit play and productive summer employment are suggested."
The demand for more teachers and growing numbers of teachers who are either retiring or leaving because of poor working conditions or poor pay are detrimental to quality education, the authors wrote.
"Alternative teacher certification programs are springing up and growing like the proverbial weeds," the report stated.
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Brian Domitrovic, assistant professor of history, appeared on Book TV (C-SPAN) May 1-2, speaking about his recent book "Econoclasts: The Rebels Sparked the Supply Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity" (www.econoclasts.net).
Houston Chronicle education writer Jeannie Kever recently turned to Regents Professor of English Paul Ruffin for his views on university presses moving toward "digital books" as opposed to traditional ink-on-paper."We're fulfilling the ancient role of the university press, and that is to produce books," said Paul Ruffin, the Texas poet laureate for 2009 and director of the Texas Review Press at Sam Houston State University. "I don't want to give up the book because it is an art."
Monday, May 3
Tuesday, May 4
"The measure of a Life is its Service."