Teacher turnover rates have fallen. In previous years, media coverage was never in short supply about this the teacher turnover report. Yet this year only one or two outlets covered it.
Near the end of 2016, the status of the teaching profession report was made available at the November North Carolina State Board of Education meeting.
The report states that 95,459 teachers were working in the school year 2015-16 and 8,363 are no longer employed.
The overall attrition rate for 2015-16 was 8,636 teachers or 9.08%. That’s down significantly from the prior year of 14,255 14.84%.
The number of teachers reporting they left teaching in North Carolina for another state also dropped significantly, from 1023 in 2014-15 to 828 in 2015-16.
What the turnover report does not factor in is the number of teacher licenses granted. In 2015-16, 3,052 new licenses were granted. If one were to subtract the number of teachers who left to teach in another state (828) from the incoming new licenses figure, North Carolina had a net gain in teachers of 2,225.
Other key findings included:
- Most teachers who left employment in North Carolina’s public schools (53.3 percent) cited “personal reasons” for their decision. Within that category, retirement with full benefits and family relocation were the largest individual reasons (19.8 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively).
- The attrition rate for beginning teachers (less than three years), is substantially higher than the attrition rate for those not counted as beginning teachers – 12.78 percent vs. 8.19 percent.
- Based on reporting from 100 of North Carolina’s 115 school districts, the five hardest-to-fill license areas are math (middle and high school), exceptional children’s education – general curriculum, and science (middle and high school).
- Attrition rates from districts range from a high of 21.23 percent, in Northampton County to a low of 3.51 percent, in Avery County, and mobility rates range from 17.05 percent in Halifax County to zero in Clay County.
This latest iteration of the teacher turnover report includes “recoupment rates.” These rated are, “the number of mobile teachers who appear on an LEA’s payroll in March 2016 divided by the total number of teachers who left that LEA during the measurement period.”
The Department of Public Instruction indicated that the data collection was done differently this year and said that past attrition reports could not be, “compared in a meaningful way.” That’s not necessarily true, however.
Taking the time to compare last year’s report to this one was not easy, but it can be done.
Both reports have the same category breakdown: Remained in Education, Personal Reasons, Initiated by LEA, Beyond Control of LEA and Other Reasons.
These categories have sub-categories, which are all same save for one new addition. Under Personal Reasons, there is now a designation for ‘resigned due to career change’. Originally, the category of ‘career change’ was bundled with ‘dissatisfied with teaching’.
Below is a comparison of Teacher attrition 2014-15 and 2015-16 by reason category. Hovering the mouse over the columns will show the value of each column in real numbers.
Looking closer at the two years (below), all of the top level categories saw a drop.
The one that took a very sharp drop was the number of teachers changing jobs but remaining in education in the state.
It is worth noting that the General Assembly has spent millions of dollars on Teach for America (TFA). The attrition rate for TFA teachers was extremely high.
In March 2015, 449 TFA teachers employed and by March the following year 147 of them were gone. That’s huge attrition rate of 32.74%.
$ 6 million in funding for the TFA program was kept in place by House Bill 17, which was passed and signed into law in late 2016.