Teacher Quality in Louisiana: Recommendations

The Essential Profession: 
Improving Teacher Quality in Louisiana


What We Can Do to Improve Teacher Quality

ISSUE 1: College of Education Reform/Teacher Preparation

Action 1: Inject accountability into higher education by holding universities responsible for the quality of teachers they graduate.

Action 2: Raise admission standards for students entering colleges of education.

ISSUE 2: Teacher Pay

Action 1: Raise teacher pay to at least the southern average, eliminate the state salary schedule and implement a performance-based pay structure which would reward teachers for knowledge, skill and improved student achievement.

Action 2: Target meaningful salary increases toward starting teachers and those in the first five years of employment.

Action 3: Adopt a longer school day and year, with additional instructional time included as part of any public policy regarding higher teacher pay.

Action 4: Offer a higher salary or bonus pay commensurate with the private sector to teachers who are willing to sign a 12-month, 261-day contract.

Action 5: Limit state pay raises to teachers. Do not include support or other school personnel.

Action 6: Increase teacher pay, but not at the expense of other initiatives to improve student performance.

ISSUE 3: Teacher Shortage

Action 1: Develop and implement a statewide, coordinated teacher recruitment and retention plan.

Action 2: Implement incentive programs to draw teachers to low-performing or rural schools, or into shortage areas such as science, mathematics, elementary and special education.

ISSUE 4: Teacher Certification

Action 1: Phase out lifetime certification for teachers by issuing renewable certificates to new teachers entering the profession.

Action 2: Implement an efficient and fast-track alternative certification process, without lowering standards, for qualified people desiring to teach who hold college degrees in areas other than education. 

Action 3: Encourage teachers to pursue excellence by becoming nationally certified through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

ISSUE 5: Tenure

Action 1: Reform tenure by offering teachers the option of receiving higher pay if they voluntarily forego tenure.

ISSUE 6: Professional/Leadership Development

Action 1: Implement a comprehensive, coordinated state plan for ongoing professional development for teachers targeted to improving student achievement.

Action 2: Support alternative professional development delivery systems, and replicate successful models throughout the state.

Action 3: Improve the training of school administrators, particularly principals, by implementing leadership and business management models in training programs.

ISSUE 7: Teacher Orientation, Mentoring and Assessment

Action 1: Institute a new teacher orientation, strengthen the state’s mentoring and assessment program for first-year teachers and encourage local school districts to use a teacher evaluation model which incorporates student achievement factors in local evaluations of veteran teachers.