Dallas teachers call for pay raises at school board meeting
Right wing GOP Gov. Gregg Abbot, right, and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, who is even more powerful than the governor on matters of budget and in other areas, have both resisted and opposed raises for teachers and public employees. Abbott has held up American Relief Plan money directed to public education and last year diverted $1.2 billion in CARES Act funds for K-12 education to fill a budget gap. Eric Gay, STF / Associated Press

DALLAS – Alliance/AFT, the local American Federation of Teachers union representing teachers and school workers, had over 30 people speak at the school board meeting on May 27, demanding pay raises for teachers and support staff. The meeting took place virtually through Zoom, as has been the norm throughout the pandemic.

Alliance/AFT calls for the district to give a 7 percent raise for professionals and a 5 percent raise for support staff with a $1,000 bonus in January 2022.

Alliance/AFT members, other teachers, and school staff made passionate appeals.

Among the main arguments:

  • Teachers have risked their lives to go to work while watching their colleagues get sick and die.
  • Teaching students in person and students virtually throughout the pandemic was a new challenging task involving more than the normal amount and intensity of work.
  • Teachers have learned new teaching platforms and techniques as they spent countless hours calling parents and locating track students with missing work.
  • Teachers are always asked to do more without receiving more pay.
  • Teachers can’t afford to buy a home in Dallas on their salary.
  • The rising cost of health insurance means some Dallas ISD employees will be forced to opt out of their health insurance for themselves and their families.

The meeting also highlighted that teachers would receive more pay in the Uplift charter schools in Dallas. Uplift charter schools in Dallas operate on a step pay system, meaning teacher’s salaries are increased every year based on years of experience. Dallas is on a merit pay system called the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI). Teachers are compensated based on standardized test scores and compliance towards rigid performance metrics that center around teaching towards standardized tests. School administration’s heavy micromanaging is all a part of this evaluation system to make sure teachers teach towards standardized tests.

Speakers also pointed out that the district’s freezing of the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) scoring of teachers during the pandemic was the correct decision. Still, it is wrong to continue freezing the pay of teachers who have been stuck at the same proficiency rating for the past two school years due to the pandemic. While being stuck at the same proficiency level, teachers could have potentially lost thousands of dollars in pay increases.

Rosie Curts, a math teacher in Dallas ISD and Alliance/AFT activist, closed out her speech with this:

“Let me provide the school board with some options:

A ) The trustees do not value the work that teachers and support staff have put in this year.

B ) The trustees are completely out of touch with their district and have no idea the work and effort that we have put in this year, or

C ) The trustees are aware of our work and value it and are therefore eager and willing to do what it takes to provide a substantial raise to teachers and support staff in recognition of our service.

“I know that the trustees and admin of DISD are big fans of multiple-choice tests. I hope that they choose the right answer on this one.”


Stu Becker
Stu Becker

Stu Becker is an activist and organizer in Dallas, Texas. He is a high school social studies teacher, and a member and organizer in the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.