This article was originally posted by the San Antonio Express-News by John Sharp.
I certainly hope it will encourage more young Texans to consider becoming teachers — and help keep more experienced teachers in the classroom — because Texas faces a teacher shortage.
Data from the Texas Education Agency shows Texas faces an increasingly tight supply of teachers. Since 2009, K-12 student enrollment is up by 14 percent, while the number of teachers has risen by less than 9 percent. Meanwhile, Texas has seen a 14 percent drop in the number of initial teacher certifications in the past decade.
We’re trying to turn those numbers around at The Texas A&M University System with We Teach Texas, a systemwide campaign to focus attention on our 11 education colleges across the state and encourage more Texans who care to become teachers.
The 11 education colleges in the Texas A&M University System graduate more fully certified teachers than any other public university system in Texas. We’re also No. 1 in producing certified teachers in mathematics, as well as bilingual and special education.
Simply put, we teach Texas. If you are interested in becoming a teacher, we are committed to your success.
At Texas A&M University-San Antonio, the College of Education and Human Development entered into a partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District and Communities in Schools, including financial support from the San Antonio Area Foundation, to assist Stewart Elementary School, which had been rated as “improvement required” for four years in a row.
In 2018, a group of students provided “near-peer” tutoring to 50 students at the school. As part of this effort, nine Texas A&M University-San Antonio students who are aspiring teachers completed 128 hours each of field residency on the elementary school campus. In addition, eight Texas A&M University-San Antonio who are clinical teachers completed a yearlong, paid-teacher residency, and five of them have been offered pre-employment contracts to work for the district after they graduate.
After the first year of the program, students at the newly named Democracy Prep at Stewart Elementary School have outperformed their peers in academic progress. Those students have shown the greatest percentage growth on district assessments of academic readiness of any school.
The Texas A&M University System has been providing highly qualified teachers for Texas schools for more than 100 years by encouraging consideration of teaching careers, growing the highest quality teacher and leadership programs, and providing ongoing quality support to boost retention in the field.
The need for dedicated teachers in San Antonio and across South Texas is constantly growing.
Teachers are on the front lines of building our economy, and they are enablers of young people who want to see their dreams come true. We take our charge to prepare them for the classroom on day one seriously.
John Sharp is chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.7 billion. To learn more about becoming a teacher, visit www.WeTeachTexas.org.