Hey did you that 15 percent of North Carolina teachers left the profession last year? I did —read about it in the N&R— which is all to happy to report that teachers are leaving the state in droves because evil Republicans in the General Assembly have made classroom conditions so wretched.

JLF chair John Hood—highlighting the work of director of education studies Terry Stoops—says we’ve all been had:

I wish I could say that these false claims were just being passed around social media. Unfortunately, they have also been reported prominently by several North Carolina newspapers and at the top of several North Carolina newscasts.

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.

What’s interesting about the N&R article on Guilford County Schools turnover rate is how the reporter works in the Great Recession as a point of comparison, noting the 14.95 percent rate ” is the highest since 2007-08, the first year of the recession.”

Look I realize the recession had an effect on state and local budgets, but let’s be real here—-layoffs in the public sector were a drop in the bucket —-if even that–compared to layoffs in the private sector. Believe you me I kept bracing for massive layoffs at GCS and the City of Greensboro during the recession, but it just never happened.