College students not going into teaching

The American Press

Pay, classroom discipline problems and a new law making in difficult to earn job protection are being blamed for a decline in the number of teachers entering the profession. Finding math, science and special education teachers has become especially difficult.

Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, a certified elementary school teacher, is author of a resolution that sets up a task force to study the issue. Bagley said one possible solution is to make teaching more lucrative for retired teachers to encourage them to return to the classroom, according to a report in The Advocate.

Education Week magazine last year reported that Alaska had the highest average salary at $77,843. The next nine, in order, are New York, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Illinois and Virginia at $63,493.

Mississippi had the lowest average salary at $42,043. The nine higher states, in order, are Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Carolina, Arizona, West Virginia, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas and Louisiana, $48,587.

Recent teacher strikes and protests have occurred in West Virginia, Arizona and Kentucky. Low pay and benefits caused by dramatic education budget cuts are being blamed for the unrest. Louisiana teachers are facing a similar situation caused by budget deficits that have frozen the $3.7 billion appropriated annually for K-12 education for many of the last 10 years.

Keith Courville, executive director of the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, said high-paying jobs in the petrochemical industry and other places are luring teachers and coaches out of the profession.

Figures from the state Department of Education show that students finishing teacher preparation programs has dropped 18 percent in Louisiana since the 2010-11 school year. College students see the frustrations being experience by those in the profession.

A total of 2,582 teachers, administrators, food workers and others retired in 2017, roughly the same as the three previous years, The Advocate reported. However, the rate spiked in 2012 and 2013 when 3,295 and 3,415, respectively, retired because of new laws toughing tenure (job protection) and annual teacher evaluations.

Legislators who believe state budget cuts are the answer to the state’s financial problems are conveniently ignoring the effect that has on our young people at all education levels.

Jim Beam

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