HOUSTON, TX – Good news from the Houston Independent School District, sort of. According to numbers released by the district last year, dropout rates among students are at their lowest since 2007.
That is good.
But it’s not the number of students dropping out that has caught the buzz this year, it’s the number of teachers. More than 300 HISD teachers have up and quit since the start of the school year, and according to teacher’s union president Gayle Fallon, that number has nowhere to go but up.
“We started seeing it build a year ago,’ she says. And then by October we were getting notices from members that, ‘I will no longer be paying you dues because I just quit.'”
And while there’s no single answer for why so many teachers are quitting in the middle of the school year, the teacher’s union has seen more than its share of complaint letters against the district following those sudden resignations.
“Probably the single most important thing to a teacher is respect,’ Fallon says. ‘And you’re not showing respect when you scream at someone in a faculty meeting.”
HISD officials suggested in an email to NewsFix that the number of resignations so far this year has been only slightly higher than it was last year.
Of course, there could be an explanation for that, too.
“HISD was exercising an option that they have under state law,’ Fallon explains, ‘ and that’s if you break your contract they go ahead and list you as a termination for breach of contract even though you resigned the district.”
Whatever the cause and however skewed the numbers may or may not be, one thing’s for sure. Teachers are leaving, and unfortunately it’s the students who have pick-up the ball when the grown-ups fumble.