Shared from the 2/12/2019 American Press eEdition


Teacher pay raise might be answer for certification

Louisiana continues to struggle with making sure schools have certified teachers. Some aren’t certified at all. Others are, yet they are teaching a subject for which they aren’t certified.

It’s a problem that ends up hurting students. However, there are differing accounts as to how many public school students are in classrooms with teachers who are uncertified or are teaching a particular subject outside their certification.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is pushing to boost teacher pay by $1,000. He told The Advocate editorial board last month that more than 250,000 students throughout Louisiana, or 35 percent, are in classrooms with those issues.

But the governor’s numbers don’t take into account every student being taught by an uncertified teacher or a certified teacher who isn’t teaching in his or her field of expertise.

The exact number of students in those types of classrooms can be questioned, but the state should still push to get teachers more money.

Edwards’ plan to increase teacher pay, along with a $500 raise for support workers, has garnered support. State lawmakers will consider it when they meet for the spring session in April.

Proponents argue that offering teachers more money will lead to fewer uncertified teachers statewide. Right now, Louisiana teachers are being paid roughly $50,000 annually on average, about $2,200 less than the Southern Regional Education Board’s regional average.

Since the 2010-2011 school year, Louisiana has seen an 18 percent drop in students who complete teacher preparation programs.

The state is already trying to get quality teachers in classrooms through new requirements for college students, along with the ad campaign, “Be A Teacher LA.”

Getting more certified teachers in classrooms won’t be a cure-all for Louisiana’s education system. But it will definitely help. Offering more money could give aspiring teachers the incentive to become certified.

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