Austin ISD won’t pay teachers for required reading training


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Reading Academies are a new requirement from the Texas Legislature, which now mandates all Kindergarten through third grade teachers and principals complete the training by fall 2023.

This includes special education teachers and literacy specialists who serve Kindergarten through third grade students in small groups and teachers who only teach specific subjects to K-3 students, like math or science.

“Thirty-five percent of our fourth grade students are reading at a proficiency level so that is 65% who have not hit that mark yet,” said Melinda Servantez, AISD’s supervisor of the Texas Reading academies. which is a state mandated training all Kindergarten through third grade teachers and principals must complete. “And in the state of Texas we actually fall 5% lower”

Servantez is in charge of making sure teachers are learning the material so the students learn to read at a high level and reading proficiency increases. The training is done online through 12 learning modules.

“So, the teacher go through pretty rigorous amount of training,” said Servantez.

The state estimates it should take 60 hours to complete, possibly more, but some teachers are wondering why they won’t be paid for the training they must complete on their own time.

Jessica Jolliffe director of humanities with AISD says teachers will receive 24 credits of professional learning exchange day credit for this school year and the next, but no pay.

“We know that that is what teachers want they want something in return for the time they are putting in and rightfully so,” said Jolliffe. “Sixty hours of professional learning is a lot of work to do on top of a regular teaching load and teaching schedule and this is one more thing for teachers to have to do — although it is a very important thing.”

Teachers will have to find the time though. If not they won’t be able to teach in the 2023 school year.

There are about 800 teachers currently going through training and another 800 will go through training next year.

If teachers don’t complete the training by fall 2023 they will not be able to teach grades K-3.

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