Lawmakers passed several bills to help address the ongoing teacher shortage in the regular session this year. Barry Erwin President of the Council for a Better Louisiana said he wishes teachers had been given a larger pay raise but his hopeful a college scholarship program will foster students to enter the profession.
“And they put $ 5-million in it, to really help kids while they’re in the colleges of education to pay for some of those bills,” said Erwin.
And the legislature changed measures to allow retired teachers to return to the classroom and they are still able to collect retirement.
Erwin said the teacher shortage is real and there are more things that can be done, for example, remove the red tape educators have to deal with on a regular basis. He also believes we need more programs to attract high school students to enter the field.
“Trying to reach out to kids while they’re still in high school, get them involved, get them involved in dual enrollment courses so they can get a taste of what the education profession is like while they’re still in high school,” said Erwin.
Another issue Erwin said facing the teaching profession is the growing political mindset to vilify educators and accusations of indoctrinating children.
“So, at the end of the day we really need to kind of build up the teaching profession as a profession and elevate teachers as the professionals that they are and kind of really change the way we are thinking about teaching as a profession,” he said. Erwin,
Erwin said mentoring programs have also been helpful in recruiting more young people to choose teaching as a career.