Recruiting and retaining teachers in Louisiana

The Louisiana Board of Regents works to get and keep more teachers in the classroom
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 10:25 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A difficult profession was made even more challenging when classes moved online due to COVID and teachers were forced to adapt. Now, there’s a state, and even nationwide, decline of people interested in teaching, but the Louisiana Board of Regents is working to correct that problem.

The board is working to recruit and keep teachers in the classroom. First, they’re trying to pinpoint the reasons people are straying away from the teaching profession.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Hunter Reed said across the state and country, there have been fewer people going into teaching, starting with college students.

“And what we see in Louisiana is what we see across the country: a decline of interest in going into the teaching profession in terms of college students,” Dr. Reed said. “And then a decline in retention of great teachers in the classroom.”

With the need for teachers so great, the board is amping up recruiting efforts.

“Obviously, we want to make sure we have amazing teachers in every classroom,” Dr. Reed said. “Teachers are critical for our students’ education and growth.”

They’re looking at all ages - from high school students to retired teachers.

“How do we think about engaging high school students who may want to be on a teaching pathway? How do we think about mid-career individuals? What about retired teachers who may want to come back if there’s an incentive for them to do so?” Dr. Reed said.

While this isn’t a new challenge, Dr. Reed said it’s very urgent.

“So, this was a challenge pre-pandemic and hurricanes. It’s an even greater challenge now,” Dr. Reed said. “But we have an even greater sense of urgency because we know that this teaching profession is the profession that makes all others possible. So we’ve got to get this right.”

She said they are working to produce an actionable report that will allow them to get more “great” teachers into the classroom.

“So, we want to look at in-state and out-of-state. What are the best solutions that are specific to the challenges we see? And how will those solutions help us to address this very significant challenge that we have in our state,” Dr. Reed said.

The Louisiana Board of Regents just turned in their baseline report of their findings so far, and are now working on a broader study to dive deeper into recruitment and retention efforts.

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