4

In Dallas and Across Texas, Teachers Keep Leaving Jobs as Fast as They Take Them

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Last month, Dallas Independent School District held its annual job fair to fill roughly 2,000 open positions for the 2014-2015 school year. The fair at Conrad High School was stuffed to the brim with eager college graduates, jaded career changers and Dallas newcomers. By mid-morning nearly half the positions had been filled.

But DISD human resources exec Carmen Darville said at the time that although the district expected to fill the 2,000 spots, there would likely be another wave of openings later in the summer as teachers continued leaving their posts.

Dallas' teacher turnover rate is high, but not unusually so -- not for Texas, anyway. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reports that Texas will likely fall short of its new teacher certification goal next year, and that as many as half of new teachers will leave the profession within five years.

Dallas' poor retention rates, of course, can be a good thing if departing teachers are underqualified and underperforming. But year after year, Dallas is faced with a teacher shortage when scores of teachers leave -- often for higher-paying jobs in less challenging environments -- and the district is forced to hire another stream of young teachers.

The problem is particularly striking among district bilingual teachers. At the job fair last month, Darville described a scenario that seemed to boil down to: If you can speak Spanish and you have a teacher's certification, you're hired. That was an exaggeration, but it drives home the desperate shortage facing districts across the state in this crucial area.

A state Senate education committee is currently considering suggestions on how to combat the problem. Included in proposals are better certification requirements and recruitment incentives such as higher pay and a more generous loan forgiveness policy. In Dallas ISD, there's already a bonus signing incentive in place for certain subjects, and this year marks the first of the district's new performance-based pay system.

State Senators Judith Zaffirini and Kel Seliger are spearheading the discussion, and will likely lead a legislative agenda for the upcoming session. "Education is all workforce preparation and life preparation," Seliger told reporters upon his appointment to the committee last week. "My hope is that the work of this committee will help to further integrate K-16 with the demands of our growing and progressive state."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.