NEWS RELEASES 2009-10 :: SEPTEMBER 3, 2009


Fewer teachers left their jobs last year according to the annual Teacher Turnover Report presented to the State Board of Education at its meeting today in Raleigh. According to the statewide report, local school systems had an average teacher turnover rate of 12.72 percent for 2008-09, slightly less than the 2007-08 rate of 13.85 percent. North Carolina's teacher turnover rate also remained lower than the 16.8 percent rate of turnover among all teachers in the United States. The report will be officially approved by the State Board at its October meeting.

"It is reassuring to see that, out of the 12,595 teachers who left their schools last year, almost one-third of them remained in education," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "The number one reason nearly 22 percent of these educators gave for leaving was to take teaching jobs in other school districts, charter schools or private schools so we were successful in keeping many talented professionals in North Carolina classrooms."

Local district turnover rates ranged from a high of 25.69 percent in Jones County to a low of .75 percent in Camden County. Local district figures are included in the complete Teacher Turnover Report available on the NCDPI Web.

Retirement was listed as the second most cited reason for leaving the classroom at 16.03 percent or 2,019 teachers. In almost 89 percent of these cases, the retiring teachers were retiring with full benefits. The third most common reason teachers cited for leaving was resignation due to family relocation (11.73 percent or 1,478 teachers) followed by resignation for other reasons or unknown reasons (11.60 percent or 1,461 teachers). Rounding out the top five reasons for leaving was teachers who stayed in their school district but moved to a non-teaching position (7.07 percent or 891 teachers).

Also as a part of the report, school districts were asked to identify the subject areas in which they had the most difficulty hiring appropriately-licensed teachers. The top five were high school mathematics and science, special education: general curriculum and middle school math and science.

"North Carolina has some of the brightest and most creative educators so it is a loss when any of them choose to leave the teaching profession," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "We are going to continue to use data from this report and the Teacher Working Conditions Survey to make sure we can keep as many great teachers as possible in our state’s public schools."

The State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, supported by the General Assembly, already have a number of initiatives in place to help recruit and retain teachers. Efforts include:

  • alternative entry licensure routes;
  • a state teacher recruitment and retention center;
  • a three-year induction program and mentors for new teachers;
  • regional licensure centers to help lateral entry teachers;
  • 12 percent pay increases for teachers with National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification;
  • 10 percent pay increases for teachers with relevant master's degrees;
  • special recognition and awards programs, such as N.C. Teacher of the Year;
  • teacher scholarship loans; and
  • Future Teachers of America/Teacher Cadet programs, to encourage students to consider a teaching career.

For more information on recruitment and retention initiatives, please contact the NCDPI Communication's division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.