Kudos to Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dennis Bonnen for making teachers the top priority this legislative session. 

Teachers work hard every day to make a difference. They positively impact the future, and they deserve our support. Giving them all a raise is a good start. 

I certainly hope it will encourage more young Texans to consider becoming teachers — and help keep more experienced teachers in the classroom — because Texas faces a teacher shortage.

Data from the Texas Education Agency shows Texas faces an increasingly tight supply of teachers. Since 2009, K through 12 student enrollment is up by 14 percent, while the number of teachers has risen by less than 9 percent. Meanwhile, Texas has seen a 14 percent drop in the number of initial teacher certifications in the past decade.

We’re trying to turn those numbers around at The Texas A&M University System with “We Teach Texas,” a system-wide campaign to focus attention on our 11 education colleges across the state and encourage more Texans who care to become teachers. 

The 11 education colleges in The Texas A&M University System graduate more fully certified teachers than any other public university system in Texas. We’re also No. 1 in producing certified teachers in mathematics, as well as bilingual and special education.

Simply put, we teach Texas. If you are interested in becoming a teacher, we are committed to your success.

Texas A&M University-Kingsville grew out of the teacher college or “normal school” movement that swept Texas in the early 1900s. A&M-Kingsville is the oldest continuously operating public institution of higher learning in South Texas, producing superior teachers for the region and beyond for nearly 100 years. 

The College of Education and Human Performance prepares professionals for positions of responsibility and leadership. A&M-Kingsville continues to grow in external funding, retention and research. With high certification test pass rates, it continues to be a top choice for future educators.

Texas A&M-Kingsville has served as a pioneer in bilingual education, developing the nation’s first bilingual education doctoral degree. Rigorous programs prepare students to be successful by integrating technology, valuing diversity and promoting authentic applications of knowledge. 

In 2017, student Cerelia Diaz was named National Student Teacher of the Year by the Association of Teacher Educators and Kappa Delta Pi.

Along with cultivating individual successes, the college continues its outreach to local school districts.

When Premont ISD was in danger of closing due to under-performance, A&M-Kingsville partnered with them in a collaborative effort to address the district’s challenges. By providing assistance with curriculum and leadership, as well as professional development for faculty and staff, the district began to meet standards and is now thriving on its own.

The Texas A&M University System has been providing highly qualified teachers for Texas schools for more than 100 years by encouraging consideration of teaching careers, growing the highest quality teacher and leadership programs and providing ongoing quality support to boost retention in the field.

The need for dedicated teachers across the state is constantly growing.

Teachers are on the frontlines of building our economy, and they are enablers of young people who want to see their dreams come true. We take our charge to prepare them for the classroom on Day One seriously.

To learn more about becoming a teacher, visit www.WeTeachTexas.org.

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