Teacher attrition holds steady, report says _lowres

Advocate file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- St. Martin Parish Schools Superintendent Lottie Beebe in January 2013.

The attrition rate for public school teachers has remained steady for the past three years, according to a report issued Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

A total of 12 percent of teachers left the profession from 2013 to 2014, the same percentage as 2012-13 and just higher than the 11 percent in 2011-12, the review says.

Retirement was listed as the top reason, 28 percent, followed by those taking education administrative jobs, 23 percent.

Pay was cited by just 1 percent of the nearly 6,500 teachers who took part in exit interviews in all 69 of Louisiana’s school districts.

The report stems from a state law that requires the state Department of Education to collect information on why teachers leave the classroom.

The results are supposed to be presented to the state House and Senate education committees.

The report said the trends are linked to the economy.

“As the nation’s and the state’s economy grows stronger, teachers are more likely to make significant career and financial decisions, including retiring or changing professions,” according to the study.

The review, which was presented to a committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, sparked some concerns.

“This is a serious, serious report,” said Judy Miranti, a member of BESE who lives in New Orleans.

“What can we do to entice students to come into the profession?” Miranti asked.

BESE member Lottie Beebe, who lives in Breaux Bridge and is superintendent of the St. Martin Parish school system, said the results come at a time when Louisiana has overhauled its teacher evaluation methods but the outcomes are similar.

“There is so much to be done with reform initiatives,” Beebe said. “We are spinning like a top.”

The report cited a separate study by the Louisiana Retirement Development Commission that said the state’s retirement age population has risen by 11 percent in the past decade.

The report also said that 42 percent of new teachers nationally leave the profession within five years of entry, and that trend has been rising for the past two decades.

“Change is not easy and reform is not easy,” said BESE member Walter Lee, of Shreveport.

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