Letter to The Editor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Dear editor,


With school openings just ahead, Saint John Parish’s schools are struggling to find teachers. Frankly it doesn’t surprise me. The chickens are coming home to roost…maybe they’re just flying the coop.

A story about police officers in New Orleans helps explain why.

The police department’s exit interviews with resigning and retiring officers are important because they show the problems the NOPD has to face and fix. And exit interviews with departing teachers could do the same for St. John’s schools. When I was on the School Board, I asked several Superintendents to start conducting exit interviews with departing teachers. It never happened, and I doubt it still ever has.

An important thing about the NOPD story is that pay isn’t the main reason officers are quitting. Over 20 years ago a similar survey of Louisiana teachers showed exactly the same thing.

You don’t become a cop or a teacher because of the pay; you become a teacher or a cop to make a difference.

But dozens of New Orleans cops have moved on after just a few years on the job. And the survey of Louisiana teachers showed most left in fewer than five years.

Bottom line – you can’t deal with problems until you know where the problems are.

I encourage the Saint John Parish School Board to work with the local teachers’ union and the three statewide teacher organizations to develop a comprehensive exit interview and let departing teachers speak out.

What school administrators learn might surprise them. And what they do with the knowledge might improve public education entirely.


Russ Wise,

Former School Board member