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New Report Says Attrition Rate for New Teachers Could Be As High As 10 Percent

Nearly one in ten new teachers leaves the profession after just one year, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Out of 2,000 teachers tracked for the report Beginning Teacher Attrition and Mobility, nearly 10 percent of those who began teaching in 2007 or 2008 left in or after their first year.

According to the report, a first-year teacher assigned to a mentor has a greater chance of returning than one who was not assigned a mentor. The data shows that only 8 percent of those who had a mentor were not teaching in the following year, compared to 16 percent of teachers assigned a mentor who did not return.

Pay was also a factor in the study; however, only a slightly higher rate of teachers with salaries of $40,000 or more were still in the profession the following year, as compared to teachers with lower salaries. Approximately 93 percent of beginning public school teachers who were earning less than $40,000 in School Year (SY) 2008–09 remained teaching in SY 2009–10, and about 96 percent of beginning public school teachers who were earning $40,000 or more in SY 2008–09 remained teaching in SY 2009–10.

This report looks at data from the first three waves of data collection of the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study (BTLS), which began in SY 2007–08. It tracks the career paths of beginning elementary and secondary public school teachers and its purpose is to provide a better understanding of the impact that different life events have on teachers’ careers, such as getting married, moving to a new location, or starting a family. The study also examines how school and/or district characteristics and policies affect teacher satisfaction, and how teachers respond to transitions in their lives and careers, such as moving to a different school, changing grade levels or subjects taught, becoming a mentor, transitioning into a K–12 administration position, or exiting the teaching field. The BTLS is expected to continue for at least five more years.

The complete report is available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011318.pdf.

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