by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Last week, Logan Smith, Communications Director for Progress North Carolina, posted another in a series of articles blaming Republican legislators for incremental increases in the state’s teacher turnover rate.
Mr. Smith’s op-ed repeated a number of misleading claims, unsubstantiated causal connections, and, of course, included WalletHub’s suspect ranking of “best and worst” states to be a teacher.
But Mr. Smith includes a table in his op-ed, “Teacher Turnover as a Percentage of All Teachers Employed,” that contains serious errors in the “Number of Teachers Who Left Due to Dissatisfaction Or Career Change” column. He was either sloppy or intentionally excluded a category of turnover in an attempt to better fit his narrative.
Before publication of the 2004-2005 teacher turnover report, the NC Department of Public Instruction had a single category for those who left the profession because of a career change or dissatisfaction with teaching.
For the 2004-2005 report, they split the category into two.
Smith ignored that change and only included the “dissatisfied with teaching” count in his table and did not add the “career change” figures to it.
That is why Smith’s chart shows a huge drop-off in the number of teacher who left due to dissatisfaction or career change (from 651 teachers in 2003-2004 to 397 teachers in 2004-2005).
During the 2004-2005 school year, for example, 397 teachers left the profession because they were dissatisfied with teaching. Smith includes these teachers in his table. He does not include the 532 teachers who left because they changed careers. In fact, he continues to exclude career changers until the 2012-2013 school year.
Why didn’t HuffPost editors did not raise questions about the improbable increase between 2011-2012 and 2012-2013?
More importantly, will Progress NC publicly acknowledge their error and retract their op-ed? Or will they play the “right-wing conspiracy” card?