During the off-year election on November 7th, 2023, Texans decided on 14 constitutional amendments proposed by state lawmakers. Voters made their voices heard by approving proposition 9 which grants retired teachers with cost of living raises. One teacher, El Paso native Tomoko Wilson, expressed her thoughts on the proposition and how many teachers quit before retiring due to the amount of years required to work before they can retire.
“Proposition 9 is for after you retire,” said Wilson. “I know a lot of people personally who are leaving the profession. Most of us won’t make it to the 90 rule or even the 80 rule. I think they should make it maybe less time [and] easier to retire especially for the work that we put in. Not make it so hard to get to that point of retirement to even enjoy those benefits.”
Wilson, who is 44 years-old, has been teaching for 8 years and currently teaches special education at Irvin High School. She discussed some of the struggles that teaching brings.
“Difficulties about being a teacher say on the administrative side you know we are expected to carry a workload that’s insane,” said Wilson. “People in the hire ups either never taught in the classroom [or] maybe they taught decades ago when the times were not the way they are now.”
Proposition nine is an amendment to the Lone Star State constitution that allows for $1.9 billion dollars from the general revenue fund to transfer to the teacher’s retirement program. On average, retired teachers make $2,200 a month according to the Texas American Federation of Teachers.
Wilson provided lawmakers and government with some solutions on how to further improve the lives of teachers. She stated that they should “include teachers in the decision making you know teacher input. Send out a survey and see how teachers feel about a topic or decision I think would help a lot.”