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.