At its December meeting, BESE received a report on teacher attrition. The report was issued amid concerns from parents, teachers, and school administrators that the new Common Core standards and flawed teacher evaluation systems are driving effective, experienced teachers from the classroom. State Superintendent of Education John White was quick to note that the report concludes that teacher attrition has remained steady for the past five years, and that the new standards and evaluation systems have had a minimal impact on teacher attrition. However, the LDOE’s report proves that the concerns of parents and education leaders are correct – effective teachers are leaving the classroom.
Although the LDOE report concludes that overall teacher attrition rates have remained steady over a five-year period, it also notes that, from 2012-2014, 16% of the teachers who left the profession were rated “highly effective”, while 12% of the teachers who left the profession were rated “least effective”. The report is clear that over the past two years a higher percentage of “highly effective” teachers left the classroom than the percentage of ineffective teachers, which is contrary to the stated goals of education reformers.
The report examines the reasons teachers have left the profession, but not the challenges of finding excellent teachers to replace them. School administrators across the state are vocal in expressing how challenging it is to hire excellent, qualified teachers while untested standards are implemented and questionable new teacher evaluations are being used to measure teacher success.
The current trend of Louisiana’s schools losing many of its highly effective teachers is alarming considering the research indicating that quality teachers are crucial to positive student outcomes. After spending millions of taxpayer dollars on new curricula and evaluation systems, there is little evidence that this money was wisely invested, particularly with teacher evaluations yielding similar outcomes to those prior to COMPASS (the current teacher evaluation program).
It appears many of the 2012 reform initiatives are having the opposite effect, driving a high percentage of quality teachers out of the classroom, and making it very difficult to hire quality teachers to replace them.
It is time for Louisiana's policy makers to heed the data, stop the policies and practices that cost Louisiana its quality teachers, and support the effective teachers that are educating our children.
Lottie P. Beebe, Ed. D., firstname.lastname@example.org