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Texas Teachers Face Burnout and Consider Leaving Profession, Survey Shows

A recent survey conducted by the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers has unveiled a concerning trend among educators in the Lone Star State. According to the survey, a significant majority of Texas teachers are experiencing burnout, with many contemplating leaving the profession altogether.

The survey, which gathered responses from over 3,200 of the union’s 66,000 members between January 23 and February 13, revealed that three-quarters of K-12 employees reported experiencing burnout in the past year. Additionally, a staggering 69% admitted to considering quitting their jobs.

Among the primary concerns cited by public school employees were low salaries and overwhelming workloads. This comes in the wake of Texas lawmakers’ decision not to increase teacher salaries amidst debates over public subsidies for private education.

In a poignant video message shared with reporters, Tyler Reames, a social studies teacher in Dallas ISD with a decade of experience, expressed his frustration with the current state of affairs. Reames lamented the lack of responsiveness to the needs of teachers and students, emphasizing the toll it has taken on his passion for the profession.

According to the Texas AFT, educators in Texas work an average of 50 hours per week, with one-fifth of teachers holding second jobs outside of their school districts.

The survey results also shed light on the alarming attrition rate in the education sector. Over 13% of teachers left public education between fall 2021 and fall 2022, marking what Texas AFT President Zeph Capo described as a “record high” departure rate. Capo criticized state lawmakers for not allocating resources to address this issue, despite passing a historic $321 billion budget.

Patrick Cooney, a teacher in Cy-Fair ISD, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the need for better salaries to retain quality educators.

In addition to salary concerns, educators expressed apprehension about issues such as gun violence on campus and proposed policies like private school vouchers. Over 82% of surveyed educators voiced concerns about gun violence, while a significant majority believed that vouchers would have a detrimental impact on public schools.

Despite these challenges, legislators have yet to implement concrete solutions, with tensions within the Texas GOP hampering progress on critical issues affecting educators and students alike.