Coaches are leaving Texas high schools at a rate of about 6,000 per year.
With the state’s population of nearly 30 million, that number might not look so bad, but …
“We are at a critical point,” said Joe Martin, executive director of the Texas High School Coaching Association. “Those 6,000 (obtained from the Texas Education Agency) are from 2017. We now know that these numbers are even bigger today.
“The pandemic is going to push this even further because of the struggles all coaches and teachers face. We believe the attrition rate is closer to 20 percent.
It’s not just Texas high school football problem. It’s not just a high school problem in Texas. It’s not just an education problem in Texas.
It’s a Texas problem.
The last thing our schools need is one more reason to lose a teacher or coach who wants to teach and coach.
Texas remains one of the few states where coaches must have a teacher’s certificate, a detail that is unlikely to change even if it is more dissuasive than ever.
Martin and longtime Deputy Managing Director Glen West texas high school football coaches, are launching a mentoring program for young coaches in all sports. They found co-sponsors of the program in the Dallas Cowboys and College Football Playoff.
But these guys need their parents as much as anything else to help them. We all need these people.
The goal is for seasoned high school coaches to be there and available to young people entering a profession increasingly vulnerable to posting unfilled jobs.
“We saw this coming a few years ago and it’s worse than we expected,” West said. “We have to try to give them the tools to overcome this. “
Why coaches drop out of high school in Texas
There’s not just one reason a 27-year-old is quitting the teaching and coaching profession, but West has a good idea of the big one.
“The student loan debt that these teachers now have when they graduate from college is so much bigger than it ever was,” West said. “They can’t get (the money) back fast enough, so they quit the profession.”
The Federal Reserve estimated that in 2020 Americans were carrying a total of $1.77 trillion in student loan debt. Student loan debt has grown 100 percent over the past decade.
According to Texas Education Agency, the average salary for teachers from 19 to 20 was $ 57,091. Depending on various factors, a first year teacher / coach can earn around $ 35,000.
Martin believes that one of the growing problems is that if a student changes their choice of degree late, there is a good chance that they will not have obtained their teaching certificate by the time they graduate from college.
There is a way around that, but it’s more of a long haircut than a short haircut.
“It’s the easiest way to get into the profession,” West said, “and it’s the hardest way to stay in the profession.”
Such a route was previously an emergency path, but Martin says he thinks it’s the norm now.
“The workload is getting too heavy,” said Martin. “You teach in the classroom. You train. You need to get the certification to be able to be a master teacher. You have 19 bosses shooting at you and that would be too many for anyone.
“And if they have a young family, that’s a lot. So they leave.
What Martin hopes is that with a mentoring program, a coach will call someone to talk to about work and learn how to manage the hours.
Neither Martin nor West think Texas should change their coaching requirements and no longer require a teacher’s certificate to coach.
West firmly believes that what sets Texas coaches apart is that they are in the classroom and in the hallways with the kids.
Texas coaches need parents
The once tacit unification between parent and teacher has become increasingly confrontational. Previously, the parent often aligned with the teacher when it came to the child, whereas today it is the child / parent against the teacher.
“The pressure in the classroom is greater than it has ever been,” said Martin.
There are countless examples of parents pursuing a school on their children’s notes. The internet is full of viral anecdotes of parents crossing the line at sporting events, abusing coaches and officials.
There is no way to quantify whether “bad mom” or “bad dad” is a reason teachers shun the profession. There is also no way to deny that, when factored in with other stressors, a “bad mom” or “bad dad” doesn’t help.
“Without a doubt, that plays a role. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that’s not the case,” West said. “In this program, that’s something we want to address; how do you deal with it. upset parent?
“That’s a reason we want a young coach to have an older mentor, someone who has done that before.”
Martin and West have designed a pilot program to address a problem that is hardly specific to Texas high school football.
It’s a problem in Texas, and all of these coaches and teachers need our help before they go.