Metairie, La. – Jefferson Parish parents have been contacting WWL-TV with their concerns about teacher shortages since the start of the new school year.
Now there are some answers about why this is happening, and what is being done about it.
Contact a parent in the Riverdale High carpool line, and they will learn about the teacher shortage in Jefferson Parish.
One parent said, “He just complains because there aren’t enough teachers in his class to help him.”
Another mother said, “I decided to enroll my daughter in Jefferson Virtual School because it really is a security that my daughter will have a teacher who will give her the attention she needs.”
A mother waiting to pick up her child said, “I had to transfer him from a school on the Westbank because of the shortage.”
Jefferson Parish Schools says 214 positions are open. This is six percent of the faculty. they say it’s on the line With shortfalls in other school districts across the country, Teachers retired or moved on to new careers after COVID-19.
Jaypee School says they are facing this shortage:
- Hiring part time retired teachers
- Paying current teachers to create lesson plans for students in other districts
- using contracted substitutes
- While expanding class sizes is not part of the plan
“These are not long term strategies. These are short term strategies. So, we are hiring teachers every day. So, it’s a solution as we make sure students get the content they need,” explained Laura Roussel, Jefferson Parish Schools’ chief academic officer.
But right now the main solution is technology, which is being used by certified teachers from virtually across the country. Each student has a device with high quality curriculum content. They are never alone in the virtual classroom. A proctor is always present during that time.
“Recently there was a study that said some of these supplement programs that we are currently using have been of great benefit,” Roussel said.
Sandra Hauer, president of the Jefferson Parish Federation of Teachers, said, “I’ve talked about the workload and pay in Jefferson Parish, and those are the two motivating factors we hear from members about why this is so.”
JFT says they are in talks with Jaypee schools about making changes to have more teachers. For example, he says, beginning teachers in Plaquemines Parish earn about $10,000 more per year than those in Jefferson Parish.
“And it’s hard when you see other parishes around are getting a variety of percentage increases, or a uniform increase across the board,” Hauer said.
And while everyone involved is working toward a long-term solution, it’s unclear when all the positions will be filled.
Jefferson Parish Schools asks that if any parent is having a problem, please call the school for help.
If it can’t be resolved at the school level, they ask you to call the administration.