AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District is looking into ways to retain teachers after many have left the profession.
According to a recent Texas Teacher Poll from the Charles Butt Foundation, there has been an increase in teachers wanting to leave the profession over the last few years. In 2022, 77% of teachers were considering leaving the profession.
“At first I felt very supported, I felt like ‘wow they care,’” said former teacher and librarian Amanda Braziel.
When the pandemic hit and her accommodation to work remotely was denied, she started having mixed feelings about the district she used to love working in.
“That was the beginning of me being like ‘they really don’t care,’” said Braziel. “They feel like I am replaceable.”
Braziel is just one of many teachers in Austin and around the nation who have left the profession. Some of the reasons why include low pay, lack of respect, low morale and low wages.
“The stress was too much,” said Braziel. “I felt like I was going to crack, like I was being crushed under the workload.”
Austin ISD spent Thursday night discussing teacher retention and what it can do to keep teachers in the district.
“We are seeing the number one and number two drivers are compensation and having a positive work environment,” Brandi Hosack, AISD interim chief of Human Capital.
Austin ISD is having a hard time keeping teachers in Title 1 schools.
”We are seeing a bigger drop from last fall to this fall again; it is a call to action for us to intervene,” said Hosack.
The district highlighted a few solutions to retaining teachers which include adding more days off, more planning time and better facilities.
“Teachers will want to be part of a brand new school that is safe to attend where they feel like professionals with up-to-date technology,” said Travis Early College High School Principal Erick Posadas after a recent tour of the school.
AISD said it has to listen to the teachers and create a better culture.
“Teachers are saying very clearly what they want to do, we just have to come to the table and do it,” said Hosack.
AISD has a goal of becoming the highest-paying district in Central Texas. So far it has raised salaries by adding incentives to bring on more teachers, but it said more has to be done.
Teacher resignations across Texas
A recent survey of 20,000 teachers in Texas found “personal overload” was the number one issue cited by educators who recently quit or retired, according to Texas Education Agency data released last month.
KXAN has been investigating a record number of teacher resignations in Texas. While leaders and districts look for solutions to combat recruitment and retention challenges, some worry classrooms may continue to be left without qualified educators. KXAN obtained thousands of exit surveys detailing why teachers left and the impact it has on students. Read the full investigation here.