Teachers: We were forced out by legislation
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — For Emma Shepard teaching was a calling, more than just a career for over two decades.
"Teaching kindergarten, that was why I went into teaching because you get to build a foundation," explained Shepard, a now retire teacher.
But in her last years the job became more difficult to do thanks, she said, to recent legislation.
"It was always fun you know to teach, and be in education, but it was getting to be where it wasn't fun and I just believe when it wasn't fun for me it was more difficult to make it fun for the students that I was teaching," said Shepard.
With what she describes as some unfair policies coming down from the Department of Education and with more than 25 years in the classroom, Shepard decided it was time to retire.
"With what I was being offered then, I felt like you couldn't build a foundation on paper. So you know all of those issues kind of helped me decide," said Shepard.
Shepard said she is not alone, but the Department of Education maintains they haven't seen any rise in teachers leaving since new policies were put in place.
NBC33 reached out to State Superintendent John White, but he wasn't available for interviews. The Department of Education released a statement from White to us that read:
"The number of Louisiana teachers leaving the profession has remained at or near 12 percent over the last three years. While some of those leaving the profession are among our state's most veteran educators, the decision to retire is a complex one and is based on many factors, including changes to state retirement policy,” stated White in a statement.
Shepard said for her and other teachers, the time had simply come to leave their life long careers.
"Legislation kept you from doing a lot of things. And I just kept thinking, all I ever wanted to do was just get inside the classroom, close the door and teach my little children. But once you get in there and you realize all the laws and the rules are made by people that maybe haven't been in a classroom since they graduated, but they were making decisions for me and my classroom," said Shepard.