Education News

Houston Teacher Turnover Worries Union

Houston students returned to school this week. But hundreds of teachers with the Houston Independent School District have left the classroom since the school year started. Laura Isensee reports from the KUHF Education Desk.

Every year teachers — like other professionals — retire or leave their job for a variety of reasons.

Except this year, a whole lot are leaving.

Gayle Fallon is the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. She has received lots of calls from teachers who had decided to quit, or were seriously thinking about it.

“They were just coming in at a much larger number than I’ve ever seen. When I asked the staff, each of my staff said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve have got several in almost every school that have walked out.'”

The union asked the district for exact numbers. They learned that by early December, more than 340 employees had left.

That’s about 3 percent of the district’s 11,000 teachers.

Fallon says many teachers leave because their principals don’t give enough support. She thinks the turnover could create a teacher shortage.

HISD’s Jason Spencer disagrees.  He says the turnover rate is up from last year — but not that much.

He counts 300 teachers who left by early January, if other school employees like nurses and counselors are taken out.

“The most turnover is among teachers whose students are not performing academically and our best retention rate is among the teachers whose students are exceeding expectations.”

Still, Gayle Fallon expects the turnover to grow, maybe even double, by the end of the month.

From the KUHF Education Desk, I’m Laura Isensee.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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