In State of the State speech, Governor Abbott calls increasing teacher pay an emergency

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — In his State of the State address on Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott pointed out that more students are graduating from high school in the 'Lone Star State' than ever before, but the problem the Governor points out is we just have more high school graduates not ready for college or a career.

"Only about 40 percent of third graders are reading at grade level by the time they finish the third grade," said Gov. Abbott. "Not surprisingly, only 40 percent of students who took the SAT or ACT were prepared for college."

Increase salaries for teachers is one of the governor's priorities during this legislative session. He said we must create a pathway for the best teachers to earn a six-figure salary.

"A lot of teachers have left because the pay is so low," said Houston Independent School District teacher Lucy Moreno. "We don't get a good raise when administrators pay themselves at a higher level and freeze the teachers, how are we supposed to feel when we're the ones in the classroom teaching?"

"Right now, teachers are required to hold a college degree and they make something like 75 cents on the dollar with comparable degrees," said Houston ISD teacher Jim Faber. "They make less than other degreed professionals. And people don't understand teaching is a very tough profession in a lot of ways."

Parents who spoke with FOX 26 News said they would like to see teachers get a pay raise but said it is not a cure all.

"Parents need to be more involved that would help a lot," said parent Dennis Heinz. "Teacher pay would help, then maybe you could retain some really good teachers it could be a piece of many things that could also help."