Bourque addresses teacher ‘flight’
Howell "Howie" Dennis is the news editor for The Crowley Post-Signal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-783-3450.
It’s no secret that Louisiana has had a shocking number of public school teachers leaving their jobs — via resigning or retirement — in the past few years.
When addressing the issue, Acadia Parish School Superintendent John E. Bourque believes that exodus of teachers can be mostly blamed on the state’s testing systems — LEAP, iLEAP and the new PARCC assessments (associated with Common Core).
“Change is tough,” said Bourque in reference to the testing. “We ask our teachers to do one thing — teach the kids. Let me take care of the rest.
“All these tests aren’t going to change the fact that 2 times 2 is 4 and that Columbus discovered America.
“You can’t fatten up a pig by nourishing it all the time,” he added. “You have to feed it.”
Bourque agreed that improvements should be made. However, he stated that those should come from the teachers and the parents.
“Teachers are so stressed out these days (in Louisiana),” he said. “There is so much put on their shoulders that they can’t even enjoy it. Curriculums should be determined by educators, not private firms.”
Bourque also said that what some people don’t seem to understand is that there are those to whom education is a business.
“Education is a business that does over $5 billion a year in the United States,” he said. “It’s probably the only business where the money will never go down ... in fact, it will probably rise.”
Bourque compared the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to a corporation’s board of directors.
“Who controls the decisions at a bank?” he said. “The ones who have the most money in it. I’d like to know how many of those who sit on BESE have their children enrolled in public schools.”
On the bright side, Bourque said that there have been fewer teachers leaving their jobs this year than last year and that the stress of the testing has made teachers pull together.
“We have teachers from different grades working together,” he said.
Bourque has been very outspoken in his support of Acadia Parish’s teachers in the past.
“I don’t think people who aren’t directly involved should be the ones making the decisions,” he said.