NCAE strangely silent on teacher turnover report

The draft of the 2019-2020 teacher attrition report, also known as the teacher turnover report, shows the state has continued to lower its rate.  The N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) and their allies like Progress NC who had made the turnover report the crux of teacher pay debates in the past have been strangely silent about the latest report.

Dr. Terry Stoops at the John Locke Foundation has a short blog post comparing the past five years or so of turnover rates. The data comes with some important “additional context” such as the continually increasing pay rate and the large percentage of teachers each year retiring with full benefits.

As the Carolina Journal notes, “North Carolina succeeded in lowering its teacher-attrition rate, even after its budget stalemate froze teacher pay.”

Dr. Terry Stoops at the John Locke Foundation has a short but important blog post about the “additional context” in the teacher turnover numbers.

Here are the first and last entries:

2015-16
Attrition rate: 9.04%
Teachers employed: 95,549
Salary (benefits): $47,941 ($15,647)
Retirements with full benefits: 19.8% of total attrition
Dismissals: 0.2% of total attrition

2019-20
Attrition rate: 7.53%
Teachers employed: 94,410
Salary (benefits): $54,682 ($19,718)
Retirements with full benefits: 20.4% of total attrition
Dismissals: 0.3% of total attrition

Overall, between 2015-16 and 2019-20, attrition dropped by 1.51% and there are 1,139 fewer teachers, but compensation rose by $10,812 with pay jumping by $6,741 and benefits going up by $4,071.

The Draft Report

Highlights from the draft report state that of the 94,410 teachers employed during the 2019-20 school year, 7,111 teachers were no longer working in a North Carolina public school during that year. That translates to a turnover rate of 7.53%.

In 2017- 18, the turnover rate was 8.1% and it was 7.59% during 2018-19.

The report says that “Generally, teachers in North Carolina are remaining in the classroom.”

Among the findings, which are listed in full below, is the “majority (56.8%) of teachers who left employment in NC public schools cited “Personal Reasons” for their decision to depart.”

As stated earlier, teachers retiring with full benefits made up 20.3% of attrition. Additionally, teachers resigning due to a career change was also high, at 13.7%.

Below is a graphic from the report breaking down the reasons for attrition. Note the level of turnover by Teach for America teachers is the highest of all categories.

Key Findings

1. Generally, North Carolina teachers are remaining in the classroom. The overall state attrition rate for 2019-2020 is 7.53%.

2. There were 94,410 teachers employed in NC between March 2019 and March 2020. Of these teachers, 7,111 are no longer employed in NC public schools (or public charter schools).

3. Teachers with fewer than three years of teaching experience are considered Beginning Teachers in NC. During the period between March 2019 and March 2020, there were 15,404 Beginning Teachers (BTs) employed statewide and 1,806 were reported as attrition. The attrition rate for Beginning Teachers in NC is 11.7%, substantially higher than the attrition rate for those not classified as a Beginning Teacher (5,305/79,006≈ 6.7%).

4. 5,541 beginning Lateral entry (LE) teachers were employed in March 2019, and, of those, 751 (13.6%) were no longer employed in NC public schools in March 2020. A total of 1,596 teachers were employed in North Carolina as Visiting International Faculty (VIF) teachers, and 224 (14.0%) of those teachers left employment with NC public schools; a total of 447 Teach for America (TFA) Teachers were employed in March 2020, and 128 (28.6%) were no longer employed in NC public schools in March 2020. (see Table 1)

5. The majority (56.8%) of teachers who left employment in NC public schools cited “Personal Reasons” for their decision to depart. Retirement with full benefits and resigned due to a career change were the largest individual reasons (20.3% and 13.7%, respectively) cited for teachers’ decision to leave employment in NC public schools. (see Table 2)

6. In prior years of this report, teachers who remain teaching in North Carolina’s public schools have demonstrated greater effectiveness (as measured by EVAAS index scores) than those who leave employment in North Carolina public schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCDPI is unable to measure student growth for the 2019-2020 report.

7. LEAs experience attrition as the combined effect of teacher attrition from the state and mobility of teachers from one LEA to another LEA/charter school. On average, 4.94% of the state’s teaching force changed employment during the measurement period. The average effect of the LEA-attrition rate for the state is 12.47% (7.53% state attrition rate + 4.94% mobility rate). There is a wide range of LEA-attrition rates across the state. (See Table 8)

8. Some LEAs are able to recapture their losses due to teacher attrition by capitalizing on teacher mobility. The rate at which LEAs are able to attract transferring teachers to their system is defined as the “recoupment rate”. The LEAs with the highest and lowest recoupment rates are listed in Table 9.

9. Hard to Staff subject areas are determined by teacher vacancy reports submitted by the LEAs. For elementary schools, core subject teaching positions exhibit the highest vacancy totals. In middle schools (6-8) LEAs have the highest vacancies for mathematics and in high schools (9-12) the highest vacancies are for CTE. (See Tables 11 and 12)

View the draft report.

View the Powerpoint presentation on the report.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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