Talking Aplus but delivering Dminus

Anyone doubting that our alleged state leaders in Austin who love to talk Aplus on public education are still delivering Dminus should take a look at the 2010 edition of TSTA’s survey on teacher moonlighting and morale. If you haven’t seen it, check it out on our website:

http://www.tsta.org/

It already has received some media coverage, with most of the attention focused on the 40.8 percent of teachers who have to take extra jobs during the school year to make ends meet and the 46.7 percent who have considered leaving the teaching profession.

Both figures are the highest since TSTA started commissioning the biennial survey by Sam Houston State University 30 years ago, and they represent a strong indictment of state government’s inferior support of the public schools.

Another survey item that hasn’t received much attention but is another strong indictment in itself is the finding that the teachers who responded to the questions spent, on average, $564 a year out of their own pockets for supplies and other schoolrelated expenses. That’s about $63 a month during the ninemonth school year.

A lot of people incur occasional, workrelated expenses for which they don’t bother – or forget – to seek reimbursement. But most professionals make more than teachers. Many professionals make much more. And teachers have to spend their own money because the state has a policy of inadequately funding public education.

The average annual salary for respondents to the TSTA survey was $50,019, and they had worked, on average, 17.7 years to reach that level. Overall, the average teacher salary in Texas is $47,157, based on the 20082009 school year, the most recent data available. That is 34th among the states.

Texas has approximately 330,000 public school teachers. If each one is spending $564 a year from his or her own pocket on workrelated expenses, that’s a tidy $186 million subsidy for the taxpayers.

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