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Austin ISD plans to improve Title 1 teacher retention after new survey results

The survey found 77% of Texas teachers have seriously considered leaving the profession. Now, Austin ISD is setting a new goal for retention.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Independent School District (ISD) is trying to better understand the needs of teachers and how to keep them in the district after new survey results were discussed at their Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 13.

The Charles Butt Foundations' Texas Teacher Poll discussing problems among Texas teachers found 77% of teachers have seriously considered leaving the teacher profession. And 93% of teachers who have seriously considered leaving the profession have taken at least one step toward leaving. 

Results of the poll also revealed why teachers are leaving districts, or teaching as a whole. 

The poll found 81% of Texas teachers say pay is unfair compared to the 69% of teachers who had issues with pay in 2021. Only 17% of teachers in Texas feel valued, a number that has dropped significantly compared to the 41% of teachers who felt valued last year. 

In addition to poor pay and feeling undervalued, teachers who took the survey revealed other factors making them reconsider their current profession, including lack of respect and support, excessive workload and the impact of pandemic disruptions on student learning and wellbeing.

Since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the amount of teachers considering leaving has increased by 19%.   

Texas teachers also say they face a wide range of obstacles that hinder them from being effective educators. Factors such as class size, lack of planning time, pressures of standardized testing, lack of student support services and spending time on non-instructional tasks also prevent teachers from being successful in the classroom.

During the meeting, Austin ISD stated it's specifically working on how to retain teachers at Title 1 schools after not meeting its goal for the 2021-22 academic year. 

"I want to be clear that we have not done enough, not national, not as a state and not as a district to retain and sustain staff," Interim Chief of Human Capital Brandi Hosack said.

Austin ISD's new goal is to increase the retention rate for teachers currently teaching in Title 1 schools from 80.5% to 90% by August 2026. 

"Employee effectiveness teams have been deployed to campuses for the entire month of September and October to meet with teachers and administrators, offer support, answer questions as well as hear frustrations, feedback and opportunities for improvement," Interim Executive Director of Employee Effectiveness Amie Ortiz said.

In conjunction with hearing and applying the feedback from AISD teachers, the district is also implementing more solutions, including better onboarding practices and increased base salary. 

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