Karen Martin is the President of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators. Martin has 30 years of experience under her belt. She's not startled by the increased number of resignations nor the challenges teachers are up against in the classroom.
She realizes times are different even when it comes to education. “They want high performing schools. They want students to graduate in four years and move on. We want all those things for our students but the means by which to get there is what we are having difficulty with.”
Martin explains that unruly students are a normal encounter for an educator. What appears to be driving teachers away are the state mandated evaluations tied to student performance. “What those children are doing or not doing or are not able to do; that affects their pay their evaluation and basically their livelihood.”
The director of human resources for the Lafayette Parish School system says so far this school year 130 resignations have been submitted. He says that's more than twice as many compared to previous years.
State mandates, evaluations and a new discipline matrix are combined factors that Human Resources Director Bruce Leininger sees as turning points.
Bruce Leininger says this school year was to be implementation focused and next year the full force of the new programs are in application. “LDOE deemed to do this as quickly as possible and that's created stress and a whole bunch of people have to learn a whole bunch of new things in a hurry.”
Leininger says as of today 80 teachers announced their retirements; 34 will retire between now and July 1. Leininger talks about a retirement analysis. “To see what schools are they leaving? What grade they teach? What course they teach? So, we can get out there and start college recruiting and identify talent as quick as we can,” says Leininger.