We came across this blogpost by the indefatigable A.P. Dillon, better known by her nom de plume, “Lady Liberty.”
More on the NC Teacher Turnover Report by the Media
Yesterday, Lt. Governor Dan Forest released a video highlighting important information which the media in North Carolina has been remiss in reporting on.
The media mantra has been along the lines that teachers are leaving in droves to teach out-of-state and subsequent commentary about teacher pay.
What the media has failed to report is that this report includes teachers who retired, changed jobs within education in our state and those who were dismissed.
A good example of this media spin is the fantastical comparison used recently by WUNC:
“It shows 1,082 of the state’s teachers left for classrooms in other parts of the country last year. That’s more than triple the number that left for other states in 2010.”
That looks dramatic, doesn’t it? Yes, that exit number has gone up each year over the few years. So has the number of teachers remaining in the state.
First remember, there were 96,651 teachers in North Carolina in 2010, and the current report has a teacher population of 96,081. That’s a population difference of 570 less in the current year’s report.
The number leaving to teach out-of-state in 2010-11 was 312. But what WUNC doesn’t include is that in 2010, 1,522 stayed in North Carolina to teach in another school.
In the 2014-15 report, the number leaving for out-of-state is indeed 1,082, however the number staying in North Carolina to teach in another school is 4,492. That’s nearly triple the rate of teachers staying in 2010.
- The true turnover rate is not 14.8%, but 6.8%.
- Of that media reported 14.8%, 4.7% “left” to teach in another North Carolina school.
- 2.3% retired with full benefits, meaning they were of age or had enough time in the system to do so.
- 1% did not have contracts renewed.
- Only 1,028 teachers actually left to teach in other states. That’s out of over 96,000 teachers, or around 1%.
- The video cites the NEA’s own statistics, which says that North Carolina is far below the average national teacher turnover rate.
- The Lt. Governor also addresses the narrative that teachers are leaving for Texas. Teachers in the state of Texas are leaving at a rate of 19%.
What the video doesn’t mention is that leaving to teach in another state wasn’t even in the top 5 reasons for 2014-15, nor was it in the top five for the previous school year.
In fact, looking over the last decade’s worth of turnover reports, it would appear that leaving to teach in another state has not been a top reason and as a percentage this reason has remained at or below 1%, just like this year.
It is worth noting that DPI reclassified ‘leaving to teach in another state’ from the “Turnover but remained in education” category to the “Turnover for Personal Reasons” category as of their 2012-13 turnover report.
It will be interesting to see the 2015-16 report, given that the legislature kept their promise and have increased entry pay from $33k to $35k, reinstated the step-pay schedules that the democrats and Governor Perdue froze during her tenure.
In addition, the legislature increased the education budget again, this time by $350 million and also created a tax deduction for teachers they can take advantage of when buying supplies.
A.P. Dillon is a regular contributor to the Independent Journal Review and an astute observer of all things political in North Carolina. If you follow state politics, be sure to check out her blog, Lady Liberty 1885, and follow her on Twitter (if you don’t already).