The data behind why teachers are leaving

Louisiana Tech students have been working with a group in Kansas to find out why teachers are leaving the profession.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 7:10 PM CDT
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RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana Tech students in the Psychology Department have been working with the Educator Perceptions and Insights Center (EPIC) in Kansas to find out why teachers are leaving the profession.

Tilman Sheets, Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, said he was contacted by a former student, Luke Simmering to help create a reporting process for the data they were getting from a survey.

He used Louisiana Tech’s consulting service, Aros, to help.

“We have a consulting firm meant to give students the opportunity to get some real-world experience,” Sheets said.

Sheets said the data collected was responses from teachers (in Kansas) about their work.

“The survey makes an attempt to better understand those features that are important to teachers,” Sheets explained.

There was a 50% return rate from teachers in Kansas.

The information determined leadership at a school is key to teacher retention.

“The principal plays a critical role. And we have a standardized index looking at the role that the principal plays within an individual school,” Simmering said.

It showed an insight many districts had been missing.

“Payment alone is not enough. I think teachers need more; they need more resources, they need more support,” Sheets gathered.

“It’s around this concept of engagement, where they’re wanting to show up every morning they’re wanting to do their best,“ Simmering said. “Those you can probably imagine in any occupation, someone who’s on the opposite end, it’s disengaged. They’re not only just underperforming to their capabilities, but they have a tendency to bring others down.”

Locally, teachers just want to have their voices heard.

”Teachers tell me districts primarily look at test numbers to determine the success of their schools. She says there still needs to be an emphasis on discipline. She also says many teachers want to have their voices heard,“ Sandie Lollie, President of the Monroe Federation of Teachers said.