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The Truth About SB 893

The Truth About SB 893

April 18, 2015

By Senator Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood 

Chairman of the Texas Senate Education Committee 

Published on Facebook, April 18th

Contrary to the untrue assertions being made in many social media circles, SB 893, recently passed by the Texas Senate, did not cut teacher pay and does not solely base a teacher's future pay on students' test scores. In fact, it does many things that are just the opposite of what has been said.

First of all, the State does not specifically fund teacher salaries. The State sends funds to the local districts through funding formulas and then the districts set salaries based on their available funds and local needs. The State has a Minimum Salary Schedule that requires schools to pay no less than. Although the Minimum Salary Schedule is removed, the minimum required salary has been maintained by SB 893 at $2,754 per month. The average starting salary for Texas teachers is well above the minimum required, and in a State with over 1,000 districts, only 11 were using the Minimum Salary Schedule. In addition, the average base salary of a teacher in Texas is $49,692.

The other part of the salary schedule is a step pay program merely based on the number of years employed as a teacher. This has been removed, not to lower teacher pay, but to allow local districts to offer more incentives and to reward experienced teachers that have shown exceptional leadership and skills in the classroom with increased salaries.

As for basing teacher pay on test scores, the bill passed by the Senate does just the opposite. SB 893 requires the Commissioner of Education, along with teachers and other educational experts and stakeholders, to design a framework for local districts use in reviewing their teachers and helping them to improve their skills in the classroom. The local district may use this to design their own process for evaluating their employees with their own local needs. SB 893 does allow districts to use this yearly evaluation for payroll decisions, but it also requires that it NOT be based solely on students' test scores. These assessments can include classroom observation, peer to peer review and the teacher's individual growth in their abilities as a few examples.

The goal of this bill is to promote excellence and to increase the abilities of our teachers in our classrooms, while recognizing the challenges they face in varying situations across our very diverse state. These are challenges that we can, and we must, overcome. The future of our great state depends upon our success, and we must be willing to seek out improvements and innovations to make sure it happens.


Read Sen. Larry Taylor's post on Facebook here,