In the third installment of our series exploring the Teachers for Texas survey regarding job satisfaction, we delve into issues with administration. Are administrators doing all they can to make teachers and students safe, serving them, and making them the priority?
In Texas public education, there are two levels of administration: district-level administration, dealing only with district-wide decisions, and campus-level administration, which is only responsible for one school. All policies are decided on the district level and trickle down to the campus level.
In the survey, teachers voiced their concerns about district and campus administration more than any other category. Teachers who participated in the survey listed concerns they have with district administrations, and their overall confidence in administration appears to be low.
Lack of Support
Sixteen percent of respondents in this category—233 teachers—said they did not receive respect and support from administration, and 88 teachers said they felt that inexperienced or “bad administrators” were keeping them from being at peace in their job.
Six percent of respondents in the category believed the actual inexperience of the administrator is to blame for the perceived lack of support.
According to TEA’s website, to become an administrator only requires a master’s degree, two years of classroom experience, successful completion of a principal education program, and passing the certification exam.
Inexperience may also play a role in the lack of support that teachers feel when dealing with discipline, as 130 educators said they do not feel supported in those situations.
A lack of consequences is turning into more of an issue for teachers, and it’ss becoming a systemic problem. One Fort Worth-area teacher stated:
Violence on campuses [is a issue]. Administration acts like the violence is no big deal, and seldom is paperwork generated and reported in [an] effort to make the school/district look good.
Another teacher from East Texas stated their concern was “not feeling protected and supported by administration when it comes to student behavior.”
This is not just an issue in urban-area schools; the teachers concerned over the lack of support on discipline come from a variety of schools—large, small, urban, suburban, and rural.
Excessive Class Sizes
The state of Texas allows for schools to have class size limits in the lower grades in elementary, but not in secondary schools. Indeed, 124 teachers felt that large class sizes were hindering their peace of mind. When classes are too large, students do not learn as well. One teacher in the North Texas area had 223 in just seven classes, which averages out to 32 students per class.
Excessive Paperwork Breaks Texas Education Code
The Education Code of Texas states:
Sec. 11.164. RESTRICTING WRITTEN INFORMATION. (a) The board of trustees of each school district shall limit redundant requests for information and the number and length of written reports that a classroom teacher is required to prepare.
Yet, 210 teachers said that administrators require them to complete an excessive amount of paperwork. As a result, teachers are going beyond the state’s requirements on paperwork.
Lack of Resources
Though Texas schools are funded by property taxes and the state, 102 teachers said that a lack of resources was keeping them from being at peace with their job. “Resources” specifically refers to items like textbooks, technology or operational technology, and furniture.
These are only some of the administration issues troubling Texas teachers. Concerned citizens can visit Teachers for Texas’ website.
This article is part of a Texas Scorecard series on how teachers say they want to fix education.