HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As Texas continues to face a school staffing crisis, a lawmaker and teacher union are calling on the state to give educators a pay raise.

Texas state Rep. James Talarico is proposing the largest teacher pay raise in Texas history.

“Teachers are the most important profession in our state, without the teaching profession, there would be no other professions,” said Talarico.

Talarico, a former public school teacher, has pushed for more money for educators in the past.

In 2021, he filed a bill mandating a minimum salary of $70,000 for every teacher in Texas.

The bill died in committee.

“It was a difficult job before the pandemic, and now it’s a near impossible job, and so the best educational investment we can make as a state is in our teachers,” he said.

The State Representative is not the only one calling for a raise.

The Texas American Federation of Teachers created a pledge demanding respect in their paychecks, classrooms and schedules.

“What we’re looking for is a $10,000 raise for all teachers across the state, a 50% increase for all other educational employees across the state,” said Patrick Hammes, union leader of Brownsville Educators Stand Together.

The pledge has been signed by local school board members and lawmakers and addresses educator pay, a defined work year with a specific number of contract days and class sizes.

“All studies show that students do best in smaller class sizes, teachers can identify individual weaknesses and work with the students on that,” Hammes said.

Talarico will hold a press conference with Texas educators at the capitol on Tuesday to discuss his legislation to raise teacher pay.