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Number of teachers quitting jumps

In World
April 05, 2024

Apr. 5—TRIAD — The teacher turnover rates for Guilford County Schools and North Carolina soared in 2023 from the previous year, and 1 in 9 educators left the profession statewide, according to the newest state report.

But in both cases, that only matches the national average for teacher turnover, and the state’s school districts have been finding more teachers.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center issued a new report on Thursday showing that teachers have much lower job satisfaction levels than people in other professions.

The State of the Teaching Profession in North Carolina report presented Wednesday to the State Board of Education shows a state teacher attrition rate of 11.5% from March 2022 to March 2023, up from 7.8% the prior year, an increase of 47%. That means that 10,376 of the state’s 90,638 teachers left the profession in that period, 3,100 more than quit in the prior year.

For GCS, the 2023 attrition rate was 12.1% as 559 of 4,608 teachers left the profession, up from 7.4% the previous year, an increase of more than 63%. The number of teachers leaving the profession went up by 202.

Other area school districts also saw increases in their attrition rates: for Randolph County School System, up to 8.0% in 2023 from 5.1% the previous year; Davidson County Schools to 6.6% from 4.8%; and Thomasville City Schools to 12.7% from 7.1%.

Yet as bad as that sounds, attrition rates also have risen nationally, and the national average was about 12%.

North Carolina’s schools also have been able to hire more teachers than they lost in recent years. In fall 2023, 11,023 were hired after the 10,376 left in the previous school year. The replenishment rate has averaged 122.8% over the past six school years.

That’s in part because of a jump in the number of teachers coming into the job from non-traditional routes. The number of new teachers entering classrooms under alternative licensure routes has increased by 23.3% since the 2017-18 school year and now makes up nearly half of all new educators in the state.

In the Pew report, only 33% of 2,531 U.S. public kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers who were surveyed said they were extremely or very satisfied with their job, compared to 51% of all U.S. workers.

Furthermore, 77% say their job is frequently stressful; 68% say it’s overwhelming; 70% say their school is understaffed; 49% say the behavior of most students at their school is fair or poor; and 52% say they would not advise a young person starting out today to become a teacher.

More about what teachers say about their jobs and about the challenges facing public education in the U.S. can be found on the website of the Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/, in the article “What’s It Like To Be a Teacher in America Today?”

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