Sean Burton is a bright and sweet little boy. He’s on the autism spectrum, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to enjoy a normal life like all other kids his age. His family appreciates every moment of joy he receives, but recently they told ABC13 that his light is dim.
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“I had a hard time telling him he couldn’t play. I just told him it was off,” Sean’s grandmother, Dawn Tobias, said.
Tobias says all the second graders at Moore Elementary School were getting ready for a musical performance last week. But a few hours before the show started, the family received a call saying that due to some difficulties Sean had had in rehearsal, a member of staff should stand by his side.
“Unfortunately, there were no staff to hang out with him that day. Therefore, he was unable to participate in the program. Part of his IEP is that he is supposed to have someone from available. I don’t care if it’s the director who has to step in. Do your job,” Tobias continued.
The teacher shortage is the talk of the town. According to a report by the University of Houston, from 2010 to 2019, the number of teachers statewide dropped by about 20%. In a Charles Butt Foundation survey, of 919 teachers in Texas last year, 68% said they were seriously considering leaving the profession in 2021, which is a 10 percentage point increase from the previous year.
According to these recent studies and polls, concerns over COVID-19 and feelings of overwork and underpayment have been a reason many teachers have left.
Governor Greg Abbott recently appointed a task force to examine the shortage, recommend policy changes to the state’s education agency and consider greater flexibility in the teacher certification process.
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Regardless of these issues, Tobias, like many others, has reasonable expectations every time she drops her student off.
“I believe there’s a problem, you know? But it’s not our problem,” she said.
We contacted Cy-Fair ISD about Sean, but due to spring break we were unable to get a response by phone or email. We are told that they are working on our request.
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