Charlotte Observer columnist sheds more light on high teacher turnover

Charlotte Observer columnist Fannie Flono adds some important details to the discussion of North Carolina’s soaring teacher turnover rate in this new column. After citing an article in The Atlantic magazine, Flono says this:

“The Atlantic article, though, put the issue of teacher retention into the broader perspective it needs. Quoting Richard Ingersoll, a former high school teacher who is now a University of Pennsylvania professor whose research focuses on teacher turnover, the article pinpoints workplace issues as the crux of the problem. Quite a few of those workplace issues are often the result of lawmakers’ policies.

Ingersoll said one big reason teachers quit the profession is the ‘lack of respect’ the job engenders – and he wasn’t talking about lack of respect from students. ‘Teachers in schools do not call the shots. They have very little say. They’re told what to do; it’s a very disempowered line of work,’ Ingersoll said.

He and others cited a number of problems that hurt teacher retention efforts. Some are no surprise. Insufficient pay and student discipline issues were on the list. But there was also the huge workload teachers endure – an issue the public doesn’t adequately grasp and too often belittles by saying teachers have the summers off – which most usually don’t. ‘[I was] coming home with 65 hours of grading over two weeks,’ said one teacher.

Ingersoll also pointed to teacher supports, parental involvement, and opportunities for career enhancement as key to keeping teachers on the job. And there’s this: ‘[Schools and school systems] in which teachers have more say – their voice counts – have distinctly better teacher retention,’ Ingersoll said.

The article takes note of the particularly daunting task for teachers in low-performing schools and the toll it takes. ‘What people are asked to do [at challenging schools] … you couldn’t sustain that level of intensity throughout a career,’ Thomas Smith, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s education school told the Atlantic.”

In other words, this is not a situation amenable to a quick fix, whether it’s dispensing a one or two percent pay raise or, for heaven’s sake, providing more “competition” for the public schools by providing state funding to private and religious schools. It’s a situation that requires a large and sustained societal commitment — both financial and psychological — to lift up public schools and the people that work there to the point at which no other profession is valued or respected more.

Sadly, however, North Carolina continues to move in the opposite direction on this most central of issues.


  1. GOP Rules

    December 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Disregarding the facts that most of the “turnover” was between teaching positions in different counties etc. is quite a way to keep the narrative going. When you net out the positions that take other positions within the schools it is a wildly different story. That is like saying a sales person in one division of a private company taking a sales job in a different department is turnover.

    Also, don’t forget. The DPI took the November report off the table because it did not fit this specific narrative…then re-issued with likely falsified numbers in order to generate headlines and posts exactly like this one.


    Please spare us the crocodile tears.

  2. Alan

    December 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Ah, the DailyHaymaker, a highly respected and impartial outfit… can you support your statement “most of the “turnover” was between teaching positions in different counties etc. is quite a way to keep the narrative going”.

    When was the last time you set foot in NC schools? Your reflexive response is yet again unsupported, but that’s what we have come to expect from paid trolls.

  3. GOP Rules

    December 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Alan/ML, you have to read the linked articles to get to the data within Haymaker. But below is a link with the data….and the info you request. It also outlines the falsification going on. It also shows that only 1/13th of the moves are due to “dissatifaction”….in fifth place by a loooong shot.

    And I step into schools rather frequently….see my kids go to school….I help with some science programs…..my spouse teaches. So reflexive or unsupported whatever.


  4. wncgirl

    December 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Ah GOP drools you GOP trolls over at Civitas have way too much time on your hands… hey maybe you guys could go help your boss and MY paid employee Art Pope get his head out of his….

  5. Alan

    December 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    And yet another impartial commentry, this time from JLF. GOP Rules, do you still wonder why nobody here takes your comments seriously?

    Any what science program do you help with, is this the “Science of the Ignornace of Liberalism”, sure can’t be anything associated with real science?

  6. GOP Rules

    December 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm


    Uh…Science Olympiad at my son’s school, engineering competitions and such. They teach real science, not the Ignorance of Liberalism as espoused here. .

  7. Alan

    December 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    GOP Rules, you’re getting a little sensitive….interesting that you view “The Ignorance of Liberalism” as a “science”, that’s just plain nuts. If you’re a fan of “real science” why do you continue to post debunked right-wing nonsense about global warming?

  8. GOP Rules

    December 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Uh, Alan you need to get up on your science. Even the IPCC is having internal reports that in fact the world is currently in a cooling trend, and the sun is now putting out less energy. Why do you think it was re-named climate change? They can cause alarm no matter the direction. Although, the cooling is of more concern what with shorter growing seasons, glaciers, people freezing to death, and overall devastation of human way of life. Heck, I might start getting alarmed now that the trend is in an adverse direction.


  9. Doug Gibson

    December 9, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    GOP Rules,

    Every time you folks post something like that, I get hopeful, thinking “Great! Then there’s nothing to worry about!” And then I do a little digging and get depressed again.

    Your Daily Torygraph article is almost pure bunk. 2012 was a record low year for ice in the arctic. If we get a little more ice in 2013, does that mean we’re on the brink of an ice age?


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