Texas teacher turnover rate remains low despite pandemic challenges, new data shows

North Texas is still seeing the pandemic's effect on education.

More than a half dozen local superintendents have recently announced retirements.

Administrators across the state are leaving their jobs at a high rate, but teachers aren't.

Teachers have been pulled in all sorts of directions since the pandemic started nearly two years ago.

Burnout is leading to teachers and administrators leaving the profession and retiring. But hope is on the horizon.

(Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Students and staff at Lewisville ISD returned to the classroom Monday after teacher absences related to COVID-19 forced the district to shut down for five days.

It's an ongoing problem plaguing many North Texas school districts, and teachers are getting burned out.

Rena Honea is the president of Alliance-AFT. The union represents about 5,000 Dallas ISD teachers and support staff.

"Our educators are just exhausted," she said.

Honea says the pandemic has taken a toll on educators the likes she's never seen before.

"Many say because of their own health issues, they just cannot return. Many are saying they're so tired, they're going to try to finish the year and then look at other alternatives over the summer," she explained.

According to new data, at the beginning of this school year, the attrition rate for teachers in Texas was at 9.4%. Experts say that's actually much better than the national average sitting at 16%.

There's another positive sign.

According to Dr. Jennifer Bailey with UT Arlington, we had 2,000 more teacher certifications in Texas compared to the last school year.

"The pandemic of course has brought concerns we noted, but our attrition rate right now is at its lowest as it was in 2011," she said.

Many districts have been holding mid-year job fairs. Fort Worth ISD even reached out to bilingual teachers in Mexico City.

RELATED: Fort Worth ISD looks to Mexico to hire more teachers

"We still have seen the trends continue," Dr. Bailey said. "We are still wanting to have teachers in our classrooms, which is great for our boys and girls."

The attrition rate for administrators is a lot higher. At some, it’s 18% statewide.

Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs are among at least nine North Texas school districts losing superintendents to retirement, resignation or other departure.

MORE: Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa confirms he's leaving role in December 2022

Honea is trying to stay positive.

"There is a great hope that it will continue to get better, that people will respond accordingly to what they're being told, and that these new educators will definitely come into our school districts," she said.

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Honea says there are lots of teachers who are determined to come back next year no matter what because teaching is what they love to do.