NewsLafayette Parish


Why Louisiana is seeing a decline in educators

Posted at 8:28 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 21:28:25-04

There's a teacher shortage in several districts across the state, according to the Advocate. Data from the LSU School of Education shows the number of students within their program dropped 57 percent in the past decade.

We found out what stresses teachers in Acadiana are facing and possible solutions.

Iberia Parish School administrators say lack of pay as well as increased expectations on COVID precautions in the classroom is contributing to the amount of teachers turning away from the profession.

Iberia parish Superintendent Carey Laviolette says the administration has to sometimes beg retired teachers to come back to fill positions. Laviolette also mentioned that the decline in educators is also a national issue.

According to administrators at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, enrollment in the Department of Education over the past decade has decreased by over 50 percent. Once in the field, nearly 56 percent of educators resign after five years.

Dr. Toby Daspit, department head for Curriculum and Instruction at UL, says the challenges start before they even get in the classroom with the amount of required testing.

"Our elementary and early childhood students take as many as eight tests to become licensed to become a teacher and I can't think of any other profession that asks for that," Daspit said.

Another factor contributing to the shortage is support for the educators, according to Larry Carter, President of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees.

"We have to be able to put up the resources, money, as well as a support system to keep teachers like our veteran teachers and to recruit new, energetic, and creative teachers to the profession," Carter explained. "If we don't, we're going to start seeing people being replaced with those who are not as educated on topics to educate others and we will dwindle in the effectiveness of creating students and learners of tomorrow."

Carter also explained that politics plays a huge role in piling on work loads for teachers. He stated that it’s important for teachers to be at the forefront when making decisions about their careers.

UL recognizes many of these concerns and in response, they've brought on a new organization called Educators Rising, dedicated to revamping and keeping the passion of educators prior to getting in the field and learning how to come up with and maintain more innovative ways of teaching.

Administrators tell us the organization is aimed at rebuilding the passion for teaching as early as high school, allowing students to receive college credit.

It’s also imperative, they add, that teachers promote teaching as a noble profession to encourage more aspiring educators to continue pursuing the career.

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