The Great Resignation: Teacher Burnout In The State Of Texas
This article is an opinion piece from Bill Lockwood. Catch Patriotic Pulpit with Bill Lockwood weekly at 11 a.m. Saturdays on NewsTalk 1290.
Many teachers are participating in what is being called "The Great Resignation," as reported by CNBC in November 2022.
K-12 teachers report the highest burnout rate of all U.S. professions, with more than four out of every ten teachers noting that they feel burned out ‘always’ or ‘very often’ at work, according to a June 2022 Gallup Poll.
Burned-out teachers have “quit the profession in droves.”
This is but a sampling of scores of recent related articles one can find on the internet. Reasons for teacher “drop-out” are multiple. At the top of the list is “safety concerns,” inclusive of school shootings, fighting, riotous behavior, reckless damage of property, and total disrespect of authority.
Other discouraging factors to educators include the disorientation of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic; teacher shortages and its accompanying overcrowded classrooms; and low salaries. Teachers that “remain in the classroom report feeling exhausted and disillusioned with the role they had once considered their dream job.”
A Texas Monthly headline from March 2022 catches attention. “Seven Texas Teachers On the State of Education: ‘I’m Tired of Getting Punched.’”
After two years of hell, Texas teachers are burned-out, angry, tired — and sounding the alarm about public education.
What Is Happening?
Let’s go back to the “top of the list," safety concerns. Beginning in 2013, the Texas state legislature “decriminalized misbehavior” at school with Senate Bill 393, sponsored by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas). This Obama-era measure “prevents school police officers from issuing citations for misbehavior at school, excluding traffic violations. Officers can still submit complaints about students, but it will be up to a local prosecutor whether to charge the student with a Class C misdemeanor," as reported by the Texas Tribune in August 2013.
Class C misdemeanors include disruption of class; foul language; fighting; talking back to the teacher; failure to follow school rules; and reckless damage of school property. Over the years school administrators have allowed police officers to deal with certain types of misbehavior such as described above, ticketing students and requiring them to appear before a county or municipal judge where they may face fines of up to $500.
But no more. Due to the passage of West’s bill (SB 393), it is left to the teachers and administrators alone to dole out discipline. Deborah Fowler, the executive director of Texas Appleseed, praises the removal of police officers from the schoolhouse as “a step in the right direction,” as quoted by the Texas Tribune. The schools need to determine exactly “why a student is misbehaving in the first place and connect the with services that may help them in school.”
Consequently, “talking circles,: counseling, and tutoring have replaced discipline. The upshot of all of this is that schools are no longer able to punish students for misconducts described above.
Paddling is loathed in many districts; expelling a student is no longer an option in most places; student discipline for cursing, foul language and blatant disrespect is rare; removal from the classroom is completely discouraged by administrators; alternative facilities for misbehavior is managed on a “racial” basis by order of the Texas Education Agency; neither cops nor teachers can “touch” a youngster unless bodily harm to others is involved, and so on.
The outcome to all of this is predictable. Many schools have turned into riotous jungles with students regularly telling “F___ Y___ !“ to teachers, or screaming and roaming the halls. Fighting and violence has escalated and even assaults on teachers is becoming commonplace. Bottom line: quality instruction is becoming next to impossible. Unruly kids dominate the schoolhouse.
To outsiders looking in, these are all surprising developments in supposedly “conservative” Texas.
Texas Appleseed Explained
One of the driving forces behind the softening of discipline in public schools is Texas Appleseed (TA), quoted at length in the Texas Tribune article. This Austin-based “public interest justice center” is all about “changing unjust laws and policies” for juveniles.
The “profile” of TA includes as its “mission” “to promote social and economic justice.” This is simply another socialistic mantra that wrings its hands over economic inequality and unjust distribution of wealth—or, unjust distribution of incarceration against minorities.
As with all socialistic policy-makers, Texas Appleseed promotes social justice and its evil twin, restorative justice. But “social or restorative justice” is not about “justice” at all— it is about equality of outcomes. Since a higher percentage of minorities are punished in Texas schools, the assumption is that “white privilege” or “racism” underlies it all. So, quit punishing young people.
The results are measurable. School environments have become unsafe for teachers and students. Students are more apt to fight, curse a teacher, disrupt a class, threaten administrators, sexually assault other students, spit on teachers, destroy property, smoke marijuana in the bathroom, or even bring their “carts” into the classroom. Instead of ejecting students, the police have been ejected from the classroom; thugs rule, mayhem ensues, and teachers are fleeing.