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Teacher turnover rate declines, but thousands still leaving

turnoverMore than 13,500 teachers left their local school districts in the last year, according to figures presented to the State Board of Education on Wednesday.

The teacher turnover rate averaged 14.12 percent statewide, down just slightly from 2012-13.  But some local districts saw an alarming level of teachers leaving the profession.

Washington County saw more than 34% of its teachers leave, followed by Weldon City
(33%) Halifax (31%) and Northampton (28%). Districts with the lowest amount of turnover included Clay County (6%) , Camden County (6.45%), and Graham County Schools (6.67%).

The self-reported reasons for leaving the profession could be placed in one of five categories:

*  Teachers who left for personal reasons: 5,030 responses This includes teachers who resigned due to a career change, family circumstances, health issues, to teach in another state, dissatisfaction with teaching, seeking a career change or decided to retire with reduced benefits.

*  Teachers who left the district but remained in education: 4,093 responses This includes teachers who resigned to teach in another district, charter school or non-public school, or moved to a non-teaching position within the district or at another district or agency.

Source: NC Department of Public Instruction

Source: NC Department of Public Instruction

* Teachers who left for reasons beyond district control: 2,353 responses This includes teachers who retired with full benefits, moved due to military orders, resigned because their Visiting International Faculty term or Teach for America term expired, or left due to reduction in force.

* Teachers who were terminated by the local school district: 1,123 responses This includes teachers who resigned in lieu of non-renewal or dismissal, did not obtain or maintain their license, were not rehired when their probationary contract ended or were dismissed.

* Teachers who left for other reasons: 958 responses This includes teachers who either resigned for reasons not listed in the survey or did not give a reason.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said in addressing the turnover rate the state cannot ignore the importance of classroom support:

“A number of the reasons why teachers leave their district or the profession can be addressed by just giving their profession the respect it deserves. We have high expectations for teachers and their pay and classroom support need to reflect that,” Atkinson said.

To read the draft report and see local figures on teacher turnover, click here.

5 Comments


  1. Alex

    November 6, 2014 at 7:43 am

    There’s nothing to be really alarmed about with these numbers.The national turnover rate has stayed around 17% with an even higher rate for urban schools. Folks have always tended to come and go in this profession depending on family matters and the overall economy. It has always been an entry level job for college graduates who haven’t figured out what they want to do for a career.

  2. mary jones

    November 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Alex, you highlight the problem of public misconception as well as chronic lack of respect from those who have never taught. Teaching is not a “job” for mindless ‘undecideds’. It is a profession and a career. It is more difficult and demanding than you would think. Perhaps your goal was simply to ‘stir the pot’.I’m sure you had some excellent teachers that helped you evolve.

    Secondly,many teachers, including myself, retire early, some of us by buying back years. I know that I was never given an exit interview or asked why I was willing to pay back so much money to leave early. So, the retirement pool should probably be looked at more closely.Given the new teacher raise formula, it will be interesting to see how that will affect the rate of seasoned teachers leaving.

  3. Gregory Monroe

    November 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    The title of the post is what grabbed my attention. I thought there was going to be some alarming information that was discovered that was related to teachers leaving the classroom or profession. I am by no means a person who is politically minded or look for political debates. I suppose others would make this an issue of politics, but I don’t it isn’t. I have been in education for 17 years and it was my choice to stay this long. I am still in the same district that I started teaching. Again, it was my choice to stay lower pay and all. There is always a natural progression of workers who start down one path and then have a change of mind and heart. I know of a few cases where teaching was a means to an end or as Alex stated they chose teaching as an entry level position. They wanted to be married, have children, or they found a way to make a living pursuing another passion. Regardless of the reason that a person leave the bottom line is that it was their choice, except in the cases where they didn’t have a choice, i.e., non-renewed, dismissed, or “RIF-ed” (reducing in workforce).

  4. Jessica

    November 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Alex think for a moment would you have a job if a teacher had not taught you? Teachers make all other jobs possible yes it also includes construction unless you want a crooked home due to not knowing how to measure properly. Any job above digging a ditch where you are told to by others needs an education. People take education for granted and don’t realize just how much it impacts lives.

  5. Gary Hales

    November 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Even though the headline states there was a decrease in teacher turnover, the trends within the data are disturbing. The teacher turnover rate in 2009-2010 was at 11.10% and has increased to 14.12% in 2013-2014. From 2009-2013, “To teach elsewhere” in N.C. was the number one reason reported, but we are now seeing “career change” listed for the first time in the top five reasons teachers are leaving. The numbers,366 in 2009-2010 to 887 in 2012-2013, show an increase in those who are dissatisfied with teaching and opting for a career change.

    Another interesting trend is the decline in the number of teachers being dismissed, 52 in 2009-2010 to 17 in 2012-2013,or resigning in lieu of dismissal, 158 in 2009-2010 to 87 in 2012-2013. I believe this trend is indicative of the shortfall districts are facing in finding qualified teachers. Districts are now having to proceed cautiously before dismissing individuals for fear of having to replace them.

    As educators sing the blues, students are the ones most affected by the song. Despite political party affiliation, it is time to address the issues at hand to create a positive working environment for teachers, so students can continue to grow academically.

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