A survey that measures teacher quality in Texas has found that students in underachieving poor and minority districts are more likely to have under-qualified teachers than those in better-performing, wealthier white districts.
"In other words," David de la Garza, president of the group, tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "the students who are most in need of the most-qualified teachers are the least likely to be taught by them."
The Association of Texas Professional Educators presented the report Monday, citing "substantial" differences in teacher quality at more than 5,700 schools surveyed.
The study measured data from the 2008-2009 school year. It took into account teacher certification test scores, years of experience and length of time in the same teaching position.
Association officials said that because of the findings, they'll ask the Legislature to give incentive pay increases to attract better qualified teachers to poorer, low-performing districts -- maybe in the range of an additional $7,500 to $10,000 a year.
The association also expects to ask for teacher mentoring programs and measures to encourage more collaboration between principals and teachers in districts with problems.
The survey found that in poorer districts with a high percentage of minority students, teachers were more likely to be less experienced. They also left the school after a relatively short period. More affluent districts had more experienced teachers who stayed longer.
"Schools with greater percentages of economically disadvantaged students have more novice teachers, more teachers who are assigned out-of-field and higher rates of teacher turnover than the more affluent schools in most districts," he said.
The poorer districts were typically low-performing and exhibited more discipline problems, creating a working environment that discouraged teacher retention, said de la Garza.
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