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Changes To Tenure Protections Lead To More Teachers Leaving Classrooms

School classroom (ThinkStock)
School classroom (ThinkStock)

A study out of Tulane finds 1,700 public school teachers have left their jobs in Louisiana because of a tougher tenure law that took effect two years ago.

That’s a three-percent loss of the state’s teacher workforce.

“Teachers that feel as though they might be at risk of being terminated, they might be the ones leaving,” said Nathan Barrett, a co-author of the report.

In 2012, the legislature passed a law that made student achievement a major part of the formula to earn tenure. Barrett says many of the educators that left were close to retirement, and teachers leaving under-performing schools rose by 27%.

“For teachers that were in A-rated schools, we really saw no change in their attrition rates post-tenure reform, but we did see a noticeable increase in the attrition rates of teachers that were in F-rated schools,” Barrett said.

Barrett says poorly-performing schools typically have students with troubled backgrounds, meaning teachers chance poor tests schools leading to bad teacher evaluations. Barrett says whether or not you agree with tenure protections, it’s something many teachers appreciate.

“If you’re going to take something away that teachers value, we have to think about other things we might need to do from a policy perspective to mitigate some of the possible short runs, like increased attrition rates,” Barrett said.

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