Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Teacher Pay and Turnover Rates

Teachers at schools in the DFW area with more poor and minority students are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to pay:

Of the 10 largest school districts in Texas, Arlington has the widest salary disparity between teachers at schools with a high number of poor and minority students and teachers at schools with a low number of such students, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization reported.

An Arlington teacher working at a campus with fewer poor or minority students ispaid an average salary that is $2,700 to $4,700 more than a counterpart whoworks at a campus with many poor and minority students, according to Education Trust,which used 2005-06 statistics from the Texas Education Agency.
The numbers aren't much better in the Dallas and Fort Worth school districts. Knowing this, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out which schools have the higher turnover rates.

If you want to know how costly high teacher turnover rates can be:

In Tarrant County, Castleberry and Lake Worth have the two highest turnover rates at 35.7 percent and 30.6 percent, respectively, according to state data for the 2005-06 school year, the most recent available.

The NCTAF’s calculations estimate that Castleberry loses about $450,000 a year and Lake Worth loses about $387,500.

Since 1999, at least one in four teachers leaves the Castleberry school district every year, according to state data.

Castleberry superintendent Gary Jones has said his district, one of the poorest in the state, cannot afford to compete with others in the area to offer higher salaries.

The students in these schools depend on us to see to it that they have the best access possible to a decent education. We aren't doing that by throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars out the window in losing teachers to higher salaries.

I certainly don't blame teachers for going to where they will get better pay (I would do the same if I were in their shoes), but there has to be a way to diminish this problem without short-changing our students. How do we go about doing that?


  1. Fancy that. Texas can't compete with other states. Two factoids to share:

    1) I know a Texas veteran teacher who moved to Nebraska to be with her husband in his career move. One of the best teachers I ever knew. The Nebraska district was loath to hire her because she was from Texas - until they saw her skills. Lesson - Texas' rep poisons teachers who teach in Texas.

    2) I know of another science teacher who was trying for a job in two Nebraska school districts. One came in with an offer, the teacher confided that he had another application in to the neighboring district, and could they wait? They upped their offer, causing the neighboring district to up theirs. He settled when the winning district bid 10K over the original offer.

    This would never happen in Texas, by the way. Which is why the good teachers are leaving in droves.

  2. Why did the incentive pay for excellent teachers fail in the Texas Legislature this session?

  3. Incentive pay is notnotnot NOT the answer. My dist got some cash last year because some elementary schools did well on the TAKS. The money was given in bonuses to all the teachers from those schools. Net result: the PE teachers I carpooled with got a bonus. I teach high school English (with a high-90s TAKS passing rate) and got jack.

    Never speak of this incentive pay again.


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