Once again I have to take issue with a lack of leadership demonstrated by state Education Secretary John White.

White attempted to deflect public attention away from a startling increase in the number of teachers retiring by discussing an attrition rate and then wholly dismissing those retirements as being of little consequence because these teachers were “ineffective anyway.”

I wonder if it has occurred to White that those teachers seeking an early retirement are overwhelmed by a professional environment in which they are demeaned and devalued and may in fact be so effective that they find themselves in demand in the private sector.

The real crisis for public schools in Louisiana is the loss of experienced teachers — teachers concerned about standards, infrastructure and student success — who take issue with another secretary of education who appears driven by numbers, political winds and rhetoric.

Effective leadership values the experience and opinions of those one leads. Secretary White should embrace his professional corps, not ignore their expertise.

Kathleen Schott Espinoza