The sweeping state budget cuts that are prompting public school districts to lay off teachers in droves could discourage university graduates from entering the teaching field, according to a University of Texas educational researcher.
"That's one of the things I really worry about," said Ed Fuller, a teacher retention researcher at the University of Texas at Austin's College of Education. "Because I think these cuts are going to send a message to people that education is not a profession to go into."
"People go into it not for the money, because they don't get paid that much," Fuller told KUT News. "One of the benefits of teaching is that, especially in Texas, you're typically going to have a job because there's so many openings every year."
Fuller says if those openings are removed, it eliminates one of the major incentives for people to enter the teaching profession.
Texas legislators have been grappling with a projected budget gap as high as $27 billion. The House and Senate budget proposals would both reduce public school funding by more than $9 billion, causing school districts state-wide to begin the uncertain process of preparing budget cuts without knowing exactly how severely their state funding will be reduced.
The most recent announcement of cuts in Central Texas came yesterday when Leander Independent School District Superintendent Bret Champion announced in a webcast that the district was proposing to eliminate 250 positions. Most of those jobs, 217 of them, would be first year teachers.
You can watch Superintendent Champion's webcast here.