A study released this month by the Texas State Teachers Association found that forty-four percent of Texas teachers moonlight during the school year, which is the highest percentage of teachers to report since TSTA began sponsoring the survey more than 30 years ago.
The study also revealed that 61 percent of teachers take extra jobs during the summer to make a living. The most recent year the survey was conducted was in 2010, which found that 40.8 percent of teachers held extra jobs during the school year, and 56 percent during the summer.
A driving force behind the change in the two studies is the Texas Legislature's 2011 cuts to public education, which slashed $5.4 billion from our state's classrooms. As reported by the TSTA, since then, average teacher salary has dropped by $528. For teachers who are already underpaid, this is a big hit to take as the cost of living continues to rise. In 2008, only 28 percent of teachers reported moonlighting during the school year. Meaning that in just six years, the number of teachers holding two jobs to make ends meet has nearly doubled.
In a state whose leaders continue to undervalue the quality of public education and their educators, it's easy to see how Texas got to this point. With over a decade of the slash and burn approach to our public education system, our educators have been left with little to work with while our youth pay the price.
Read more on the TSTA study below the jump.The study also found how much more it would take for a teacher to make enough livable income to quit moonlighting:
“The moonlighters work, on average, almost 14 hours a week at their extra school-year jobs. Most – 83 percent – said they believed their teaching quality would improve if they quit the extra jobs, and 91 percent said they would quit moonlighting if their teaching salaries were high enough to allow it. But respondents, on average, said they would need a $9,188 annual raise in their teacher pay to make up for the extra income. That figure roughly correspondents to the margin – $8,273 – by which the average teacher salary in Texas lags behind the national average.”
Members of the Texas State Teachers Association and their advocates have pointed out that continuing to underfund public education especially as the Rainy Day Fund grows is disingenuous. Despite hard opposition from the far-right, even our state's water and highways were allowed access to the Rainy Day Fund. While Democrats restored $3.9 billion in funds this past session, Republicans have yet to allow the damages from 2011 to be completely undone. Our state leaders failed to recognize that our growing youth population is just as in need of appropriate funding.
Our current leadership has shown that no matter how desperate the situation, they will continue to ignore the benefits of providing equitable education for Texas students and paying their educators a fair income.
You can read the rest of the TSTA press release and their study findings below:
“Dedicated educators shouldn't have to juggle extra jobs to support their families, but the financial reality of being a teacher in Texas leaves them little choice,” said TSTA President Rita Haecker. “Even so, they remain strongly committed to the needs of their students. Our elected officials need to give these professionals the professional pay that they deserve.”
The average salary of teachers participating in the latest survey was $50,967 a year, and their average classroom experience was 16.9 years. Some 64 percent were the major breadwinners in their households.
Overall, the average teacher salary in Texas, based on data for the 2012-13 school year, was $48,110. That was 38th among the states and the District of Columbia and was $8,273 below the national average, according to the National Education Association.
The survey respondents also reported:
-Spending an average of $697 a year from their own pockets on school supplies, an increase of more than $130 from three years ago.
-Spending an average of $408 each month on health insurance, an increase of almost $200 from 2010.
-Working an average 18 hours a week outside the classroom on school related work in addition to their moonlighting jobs.
-Overwhelming opposition, 95 percent, to letting a single standardized test determine whether a student gets promoted.
The online survey of 306 teachers was conducted last spring by Dr. Robert Maninger, Dr. Sam Sullivan and Dr. Daphne Johnson of Sam Houston State University. Some 80 percent of the participants were women, 48 percent had graduate degrees and they represented all grade levels and urban, suburban and rural school districts.