State Supt. Disputes Mass Exodus of Teachers

Jan 28, 2013

The Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana reported earlier this month that the number of its members retiring from jobs in K-12 education jumped by more than 25 percent last year. The spike came after the legislature passed changes to the way teachers are evaluated, compensated and awarded tenure.  

The retirement system’s figures include people retiring from food service, and other non-classroom jobs. And State Superintendent John White says the figures are misleading.

He says the number of teachers leaving the classroom for any reason – including promotion to administrative positions – has in fact remained steady at around 12 percent over the past three years.

Under the new evaluation system being rolled out statewide, teachers’ pay and whether they get tenure will be based largely on assessments of their students.

Some administrators have said those changes are making it harder to get and keep qualified teachers.
White disputes that too.

“Now that we have a good evaluation system, we’re going to be able to identify our highest performers, reward them, retain them, and promote them even better than we have in the past," White said on a media call Monday.

Louisiana began rating teachers in core subjects like reading and math in 2010. Of the teachers from that group who have stayed in their jobs, the state’s data shows more than twice as many were rated highly effective than rated ineffective.