by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Yesterday, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, published “Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey.” Researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed a representative sample of the elementary and secondary school teachers who participated in the 2011-12 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a multidimensional survey conducted by NCES every four years.
NCES reports that during the 2012-13 school year, approximately 84 percent of public school teachers surveyed remained at their current school. The other 16 percent either moved to another school or left the profession.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) counts movers and leavers as turnover, so I will do the same with the NCES data.
Please note that each define their turnover categories differently. There are also significant differences in the way turnover data is collected, analyzed, and reported by the two agencies. For example, rather than survey a representative sample, N.C. DPI tracks the movement of the entire teacher population in the state. Given these differences, interpret these findings with caution. (For an excellent discussion of teacher turnover data, read this Shanker Blog post by Matt DiCarlo.)
Here is how North Carolina compares to the NCES estimates for 2012-13:
United States: 15.8 percent
North Carolina: 14.3 percent
Using data from the NCES and N.C. DPI, I found that this has been a consistent trend.