Louisiana’s Commitment to Military Families in Education

In an admirable move to support military families and enhance the teaching profession, Louisiana is breaking down barriers that have long hindered military personnel and their spouses from becoming educators, as per this news release from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). LDOE has instituted a groundbreaking policy that streamlines the process for active military personnel and their spouses who hold teaching certificates from other states to obtain a Louisiana teaching certificate. This progressive initiative, sanctioned by House Bill 472 during the 2023 Regular Legislative Session, was met with unanimous approval from the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

The heart of this new policy, as outlined in House Bill 472 of the 2023 Regular Legislative Session, grants a valid Louisiana teaching certificate lasting five years to military personnel and their spouses currently stationed in Louisiana, who already possess a teaching certificate from another state. However, to ensure that the highest educational standards are maintained, applicants must also meet all other prerequisites, such as background checks and criminal history reviews, as mandated by state law and board policy. “This is a practical approach to provide additional teachers for students across Louisiana,” remarked State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “With a strong military presence in our state, it’s an honor to help make lives a little easier for families serving our country.”

This recent development reflects Louisiana’s ongoing commitment to improving teacher recruitment and retention by expanding pathways to the profession. These proactive measures include:

Consistently raising teacher pay: Louisiana has been unwavering in its support for educators by consistently approving across-the-board pay increases for teachers and support staff. Notably, the state has allocated $25 million during the 2023 Regular Session to be directed towards differentiated compensation. This innovative approach allows school systems to allocate funds where they are needed most, including recruiting and retaining teachers in critical shortage areas, rewarding highly effective educators, supporting teachers in high-need schools, and recognizing teachers in leadership roles.

Supporting new ladders into the profession: Recognizing that there are various paths to becoming an educator, Louisiana has introduced policies that enable professionals from diverse backgrounds to embark on a teaching career. Whether individuals are pursuing the traditional route, an alternative path, or are eager to share their industry expertise in career and technical education courses, the state is facilitating their entry into the profession. One of the recent developments is the creation of the Associate Teacher Program, introduced in Act 99 of the 2023 Regular Legislative Session, which allows school systems to hire teachers with associate degrees who are enrolled in teacher education preparation programs, providing them with mentorship and ongoing professional development.

Expanding the pre-educator pathway in high schools: Louisiana recognizes the importance of nurturing an interest in education from a young age. To that end, over $1 million has been allocated to school systems to expand pre-educator pathways. These programs offer high school students the opportunity to take education courses, fostering their interest in the teaching profession. In the 2022-23 academic year, the pre-educator pathway was made available in more than 70 schools across 35 school systems.

Elevating teacher voice: To ensure that educators’ perspectives are at the forefront of educational decision-making,Dr. Brumley initiated the Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council. Now in its second year, this council of educators convenes quarterly to provide valuable feedback on ongoing education initiatives and offer insights into how Louisiana can further enhance student outcomes and the teaching profession.

In addition to these impactful initiatives, the Louisiana Department of Education‘s latest policy represents a significant stride in supporting military families and bolstering the teaching workforce. It acknowledges the challenges military families face when relocating and endeavors to ease the transition by recognizing their qualifications and enabling them to continue their teaching careers in the state.

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