JLF Chairman John Hood’s latest column deflates the very common claim that looses 15 percent of its teachers each year. The key point, that much of the press is missing:

The “15 percent” claim comes from an annual report on teacher turnover published by the Department of Public Instruction. This has never been a report on how many teachers leave the profession each year. For example, “teacher turnover” as measured by DPI includes those who move from one public school district to another within North Carolina but are still teaching, as well as those who become public-school administrators or who take jobs at charter or private schools in the state (which typically pay less than the district-run schools do). The statistic also includes teachers who retire at full benefits. And it includes the relatively small number of teachers who are actually let go because they aren’t very good at teaching.

So what percentage of our public schoolteachers actually left their jobs voluntarily to change careers or move to another state to teach? About 2.3 percent.