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Texas Schools Hire More Uncertified Teachers, How Does This Affect Kids?

The hiring of uncertified teachers across Texas has reached an all-time high, and the trend does not appear to be slowing. How is this affecting children?

The Dallas Morning News published a report in which they found that the percentage of uncertified teachers has risen to 34%, the highest in Texas history. Education Commissioner Mike Morath has said that some schools “gave up on teacher certification” and have begun “hiring people off the street.”

The term “uncertified teacher” means that the state has no way of knowing whether they have received rigorous training. Typically, to become a certified teacher, a person must have a bachelor’s degree, complete an education preparation program, pass some exams, submit an application to the state, and undergo a background check.

Having more uncertified teachers has real consequences in the classroom.

For example, The News found that uncertified teachers have a much lower retention rate than certified teachers, meaning that uncertified teachers tend to leave the profession sooner.

Hiring non-certified teachers addresses a short-term problem, but it contributes to long-term challenges such as retention rates.

It could also affect students, as the vast majority of uncertified teachers would remain novices, and students of novice teachers tend to make less academic growth.

​​“It’s unfair to the students, to the parents and to the educator themselves. They’re not fully prepared,” Rena Honea, president of Alliance-AFT, told The News. “I don’t know of an attorney that’d be allowed to practice law without passing the bar exam.”

Kevin Brown, the executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators, said the state is responsible for the teacher shortage because it has not taken serious action to address health insurance costs, lagging pay and political divisions in the classroom.

Lawmakers have failed to pass major education bills in recent legislative sessions. A bill that could have increased funding for teachers was tied to a voucher-like program that would have used public money for private school tuition, so both bills died.

Written by RA News staff.


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