Solutions that don’t break the bank, reinvent the wheel or marginalize our teachers are within our grasp. We could have rigorous classes, safe and disciplined schools and treat teachers like valued colleagues rather than easily replaceable cogs, and we could do so tomorrow if we wanted. Disclaimer, this is an opinion and commentary site and should not be confused as a news site, and you should know that quite often people may disagree with the opinions posted herein.
About 8 percent of Florida teachers left the classroom from 2008 to 2009. Nationally, 6.8 percent of teachers left the classroom during the same period. Florida’s rate of attrition is higher than other large states, such as California, Illinois, New York and Texas.
Predictably, those rates are higher at schools with a high percentage of low-income or minority students. Those schools are also more likely to employ teachers with less experience.
“Teachers departing because of job dissatisfaction link their decision to leave to inadequate administrative support, isolated working conditions, poor student discipline, low salaries, and a lack of collective teacher influence over schoolwide decisions,” the report states.
Ingersoll estimates the turnover cost the Sunshine State between $61.4 million and $133.6 million from 2008 to 2009.
Long-term, the trend means students are now more likely to have a less experienced teacher. In 1987-1988, the most common amount of teacher experience was 15 years. In 2007-2008, teachers were most often in their first year. The figure has risen to five years’ experience since the Great Recession.
The report recommends formal induction programs, which include several years of mentoring, scheduling a common planning time for teachers and making professional development a priority. Hillsborough County schools have reduced their attrition rate with a mentoring program funded in part by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.