The Texas Education Agency (TEA) reports that the number of public school teachers in Texas cracked 370,000 for the first time ever in the 2020-2021 school year. The year before, Texas charters and school districts employed 363,522 teachers.
The TEA also measures full-time equivalent (FTE) counts for all public school employees in the state. FTE measures how many employees work a full-time schedule, making it roughly equivalent to the total number of professional staff hired at a public school for full-time jobs like teachers or principals.
According to this data, the number of teachers in Texas public schools continued its steady upward trend in the 2020-2021 school year.
In fact, public schools in Texas employed more non-teaching staff than teachers last year, a trend that has continued since 2016. Administrators, counselors, librarians, educational diagnosticians, aides, and other staff have long outpaced teachers.
The number of administrators, who make up a portion of non-teaching staff, also continued to rise. Despite having fewer students than the year before, public schools employed more principals, assistant principals, deputy superintendents, teacher supervisors, and other administrative staff than ever.
Furthermore, attrition among teachers was lower than in preceding years. Data shows that fewer teachers left the Texas public school system in 2020-2021 than in the last 10 school years.
The same trend is clear for the percentage of lost teachers as well as the absolute count.
The TEA also tallies how many teachers leave their district or charter of employment but may go on to teach at another one. According to this report, attrition by school district dropped sharply in the 2020-2021 year, suggesting that more teachers were hunkering down in their current schools instead of seeking employment elsewhere.
All the while, the 2020-2021 school year saw a historic decline in student enrollment, leaving the Texas public school system with about 3 percent fewer children. Population growth had previously put more students in Texas schools every year since measurement began.
Normally, since the state disburses money to schools per student, this would mean a concurrent drop in funding. However, the state kept public schools funded at pre-pandemic levels throughout the 2020-2021 year.
Public schools in Texas also benefited from congressional relief packages sent out under the Trump and Biden administrations, together totaling over $17 billion. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Texas schools have spent a fraction of these funds.
Additionally, school districts continue to ask voters to approve debt, usually to pay for building projects, though bond requests dipped in 2020 and most were rejected for the first time in a decade in November 2021.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.