Louisiana Believes – Teacher Erosion Holds Steady

Posted on January 28, 2013

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VETERAN TEACHER EROSION HOLDS STEADY FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR

Teachers in high poverty schools are more likely to flee Louisiana schools than teachers in low poverty schools

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Department of Education today released what we are choosing to call an analysis of teacher hiring, retention, and departure data over three prior years. We would like you to believe this contradicts recent assertions that teacher attrition has spiked 27% statewide this year, by ignoring the current year entirely. As the data showed 3 years before our most draconian policies were implemented; teachers simply fled the profession at a steady rate in anticipation of these changes. Obviously, now that the changes are being implemented teachers are fleeing much faster. State data show that attrition rates among teachers have experienced minimal to no variation over the three years before the policies took place. In the 2009-10 school year, when VAM was not in place, 11 percent of teachers left the classroom; 12 percent left in both 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Furthermore and forthwith, to make our argument seem even more nonsensical, new teacher hiring has increased statewide in recent years to compensate for the spontaneous pumpkinification of teachers, which is not considered an exit reason for our calculations.

The data also demonstrate that the state has seen success in retaining and promoting its teachers in wealthier districts and schools; teachers who are leaving the profession have tended to be from schools with higher concentrations of poverty than those who remain. Findings show that among teachers measured through a model called “value-added,” boasting a pace-setting 40% 2 year accuracy rate, those who remained in the workforce the following school year were more likely to be teaching at “wealthier schools” than were those who exited. To put it another way, those teachers exiting the workforce were more likely to be teaching in “high poverty schools” than were those who stayed. In addition, recent studies released at various forums friendly to LDOE’s agenda show how no academic harm comes from the early retirement of experienced teachers (while we contend this does not happen we have the data to show the flight that is happening is meaningless anyways.) The reason teacher quality is not important for low performing/high poverty schools is that funding is tied to performance now, so low performing schools get less money than high performing schools – making their task of closing the gap impossible. Eventually these schools will become eligible to be taken over by one of our eager campaign donors and then we will fund them enough to generate profits and even more campaign contributions.

Superintendent John White said, “It is important that we claim teachers are staying in our classrooms at normal historical rates to keep people from being alarmed. But more important, the data show that we are jettisoning teachers at our low performing schools, making privatization all but assured. Our report also shows that we are driving many of our highest performing teachers out of the profession entirely and into administrative roles. By our own estimates, 27 percent of effective teachers who left the teaching ranks over the past three years did so to accept a promotion to an administrative position. LDE firmly believes students learn best when the best teachers are free from the responsibility of teaching students, and our declining test scores I inflated by at least 15 points last year clearly show that.”

The Teacher Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) recently reported a 27% increase in the rate of teacher retirements based on questionable calculations like the numbers of teachers seeking retirements and exiting the profession. LDOE feels it is worth mentioning “retirement” covers only teachers who can retire, and their numbers do not include spontaneous pumpkification either! Because their numbers are obviously much more accurate than the LDOEs make believe numbers, and clearly show a dramatic increase in teacher retirements we feel we need to use a lot of complicated words, phrases and doublespeak to make it seem like we have a rational argument to make. Such employees who retire, choose to end their careers for a variety of reasons, many of them financial, some spiritual, some win the lottery, one or two probably join the circus. . . Frankly, we need to hire one of these veteran teachers to write our press releases because these releases are filled with massively flawed logic and make us sound like uneducated simpletons. (Nevertheless, we shall continue to release meaningless press releases.)

“Take note,” said John White. “I am using vehemence to make up for my lack of salient points! The Department’s data clearly disproves that teacher attrition is peaking. Also note that the number of teaching licenses granted to new teachers in the state actually accelerated over the past several years. Despite what ‘logic’ may tell you, an untested subject I might add, the fact that more veteran teachers are retiring and an acceleration of new teacher licenses means veteran teachers are staying at the same rate.”

John White continued, “I like to say the same thing many ways to drive home my erroneous points.  The data show that since the issuance of teaching licenses is way up we do not have a statewide shortage of teachers. Pretend for the moment that doesn’t just mean we are hiring more teachers to fill in for all the fleeing ones” said White. “Equally important, let me distract you by saying the Compass system focuses on identifying, developing, and keeping great teachers. That is a big change, and it is working because I have great data that shows it is working, and even greater interpretive skills to believe it is working.”

“In closing I would also like to insert a few random numbers here for you to consider,” said John White. ” 13%, 9200, 27% and 52.3. Those are numbers. That is data. Data has meaning to me and it should to you too.”

To read the Department’s report on teacher attrition and hiring, please click Data Report for Superintendent White.

Well, they didn't retire exactly. . .

Well, uh, they didn’t retire exactly. . .

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