Education jobs are among the lowest-paying occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree, but Texas is trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to compensation.
Texas teachers rank in the top 20 percent of Wallethub’s best and worst states for educators, due in part to high pay checks.
However, Texas continues to rank near the bottom when it comes to quality of its school system.
For local school districts, a quality education lies with a good teaching staff. That includes maintaining a competitive pay rate with other nearby districts.
“The education finance system is broken, but despite that, our teachers are moving mountains to create an awesome experience for our kids,” said Tim Savoy, Hays CISD chief communications officer. “We need to support our teachers. The education our students are getting is not broken.”
According to the study, Texas ranks third in opportunity and competition, but is 46th in academic and work environment.
Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at Wallethub, said some components that dragged Texas’ ranking down was its median SAT scores, reading test scores and the number of school shootings.
Those factors led WalletHub to rank Texas as one of the worst work academic environments in the country.
According to the National Education Association (NEA), the national average teacher salary is $59,660 a year.
The national teacher salary has increased by around 15 percent in the past decade.
However, after adjusting for inflation, the NEA said the average teacher salary has actually decreased by nearly $2,000 or three percent.
Despite this finding, Wallethub ranks Texas second in the nation for average starting teacher salary, when adjusted for cost of living.
Linda Hall, director of human resources for HCISD, said the district is focusing on offering competitive salaries and benefits packages, while offering its educators the training needed to succeed in the classroom.
“Texas’ cost of living is the eleventh lowest in the country,” Gonzalez said. “That definitely has an influence on the final result, but considering it came in second, we could say that teachers are valued in Texas.”
Savoy said he urges parents to get involved with public education at the legislative level, where reform to education finance occurs.
“If policymakers would relax the state standardized testing system, that would give teachers more capacity to be creative,” Savoy said. “Hiring great teachers is the best thing we can do and we are competitive with 15 other districts in Central Texas.”
Although the future of public funding for education in Texas is unclear, a revelation in teaching methods may be on the horizon. Giving educators the opportunity to be more creative in the classroom, for Savoy, may guide the future of education practices in Texas.
“Teachers don’t become teachers to get rich, they do it to change lives,” Savoy said, “We want our teachers to be more creative in the classroom and our focus is what we can be doing to help our students every single day.”