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It’s Good News, Not Bad, When Some Teachers Leave North Carolina

Teachers who leave North Carolina are, on average, less effective than those who stay. That’s the conclusion of the Department of Public Instruction, as JLF’s Terry Stoops explains in his review of a new report on the state of the teaching profession in 2016-17.

According to the report, much of the state’s teacher attrition is due to personal reasons or is beyond the control of the school district or state.  Retirement was the top reason why people left their teaching position last year.   Nearly one in five teachers who resigned last year did so to retire with full benefits.  Family relocation, unknown reasons, career change, and teaching in another state round out the top five.  Dismissals, compelled resignations, and reductions in force appear to be rare.

While some may find teacher attrition to be worrisome, N.C. Department of Public Instruction researchers found that teachers who leave are less effective than those who remain.  They write,

On average, teachers who leave employment with the state have lower teaching effectiveness (as measured by EVAAS index scores) than their counterparts who remain employed in NC public schools.  This relationship holds true when departing teaches are compared with remaining teachers in terms of years of teaching experience.

Simply put, not all attrition is bad.  We should want bad teachers to leave and better teachers to remain.  It is worth questioning, however, if we are doing enough to retain our best.  I think the state and school districts need to do more for them.

Donna Martinez / VP of Marketing and Communications

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...

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