Mar 28, 2013 11:15 PM by Erin Steuber
"I have to take responsibility. Who else is going to do it?"
Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper accepts responsibility for a hot button issue in the parish. That issue, teacher's leaving the classroom.
As we have been reporting the number of teachers leaving Lafayette parish has skyrocketed, teachers citing a number of issues from Jindal's education reforms to discipline in the classroom. Now new numbers lend more insight into the situation in schools.
According to the numbers, most teachers are retiring or resigning at the elementary and middle school level. The school with the most resignations is Lafayette Middle School with 11. The school with the most retirements is Milton Elementary and Middle school with five.
"When you look at 90 teachers leaving, 200 teachers leaving, that sits right here at this desk and I'll take that. I know some of the things I can't help, but some of the things I could have done better, and we will do better," said Cooper. "So you live and you learn and hopefully we'll do better next year."
But will next year be too late? Cooper doesn't think so.
"I don't think we're gonna have near the same kinds of issues next year that we had this year," said Cooper. "But to get 200 brand new teachers in our system all in one year is certainly going to cause us some problems."
Breaking down the number even further: 134 teachers have resigned, 64 retired and in both cases thats nearly triple the amount last year. The majority citing relocation, discipline issues and other jobs.
"I'm not sure everyone tells us the truth about it, but I know that we have a lot more that are retiring, a lot more that are resigning," said Cooper. "Regardless of the reason, I'm very concerned about it. I think it's our job to figure out why they're doing it, then fix that because teaching ought to be a fun profession."
In response to discipline issues in the classroom, Cooper promised action two weeks ago, asking principals to identify their most problematic students. Within the first week, Cooper tells KATC's Erin Steuber 17 students were dismissed from their schools.