Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is a Teacher Shortage Developing?

Our State Department of Education crack PR team apparently wanted to counteract the recent news reports about the large increase in teacher retirements in Louisiana. So they released their own report pointing out that total teacher attrition has not increased by much in the last few years. But in so doing they also gave the numbers of initial teacher licenses granted in the last several years.

So here is what the data released by the LDOE shows about number of teachers leaving the workforce in Louisiana in the last few years:
'09-10: 5,622
'10-11: 6,072
'11-12: 6,183

So while the rate of teachers leaving has increased by only 561 teachers per year, look at numbers of new licences granted in recent years:
'08-09: 3,005
'09-10: 3,076
'10-11: 3,136

This data tells me that Louisiana is only adding about half the new certified teachers compared to the number of teachers that are quiting each of the last 3 years. I guess part of this gap may be explained by reductions in staff that have occurred in many school systems in the last few years because of the freeze of the MFP at the same time that mandated costs have skyrocketed.  The rest of the gap is made up by hiring previously certified teachers or non-certified temps or subs.

Don't let the State Department of Education tell you that they know anything about the quality of teachers leaving the profession. If you have read this blog in the past, you already know how unreliable the VAM system (which is the measure they are using) is in measuring teacher quality. What's more, the present VAM system only gives data on one third of the total number of teachers. So for the Dept. to claim they know how many "ineffective" teachers are leaving and staying is a total sham! 

Many of the new teachers graduating from our state universities are choosing to take jobs in other states where there is not so much turmoil and obvious attacks on the profession as are occurring in Louisiana. That factor may help to explain why some local superintendents are experiencing difficulty in filling vacant positions with certified teachers.

Soon you can expect Jindal to announce that since teacher education programs are not that important anyway, school systems should be allowed to hire anyone with a college degree who can't get a job in their chosen field (or more TFAs). This is already the case for all charter schools in our state. Since school accreditation by outside accrediting agencies is in the process of being repealed by BESE, Louisiana should be well positioned to "create" more counterfeit teachers without concern of criticism.

There is one other factor that may help avoid a teacher shortage in Louisiana. We may need fewer teachers if Jindal and White are successful in their campaign to outsource teacher jobs to out-of-state Course Choice providers.  But wait, I thought Jindal wanted to attract new college level jobs to Louisiana!  Well at least thank goodness we saved those chicken plucking jobs in North Louisiana!