Why do teachers quit, and what can school districts do about it?

By January 8, 2018K-12

About 8 percent of teachers in the U.S. leave the profession each year, and another 8 percent choose to move to a different school, according to research from the Learning Policy Institute.

Sure, retirement accounts for some of that turnover, but two-thirds of teachers who leave the profession each year are doing so for other reasons, according to LPI. This comes as states across the country face growing teacher shortages. More than 100,000 classrooms had underprepared teachers last year, LPI found in its study, “Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It.”

Teacher turnover is costly. It hurts student achievement and leads to shortages, and it can cost up to $21,000 to replace a new teacher in an urban school district, according to Education Week.

What causes teachers to quit? Here’s what the LPI found:

  • “Dissatisfaction with testing and accountability pressure” (25 percent of those who left): Teachers in low-performing schools felt pressure to “teach to the test” and were worried about losing their jobs if test scores didn’t improve enough.
  • “Lack of administrative support” (21 percent): If teachers don’t feel like their administration is supportive, they’re more likely to leave.
  • “Dissatisfaction with the teaching career” (21 percent): Specifically, teaching assignments and lack of opportunities to provide feedback or advance in their career.
  • “Dissatisfaction with working conditions,” like large class sizes (10 percent) and lack of resources and facilities (9 percent).

Addressing the last issue on that list – bad working conditions – could lead to improvements in other aspects of the profession. SSC has found that when districts outsource their facility services, not only can working conditions improve, but it allows principals to focus more of their time and energy on their teachers and students.

SSC, with the backing of Compass Group, the world’s largest foodservice and support services company, invests in new equipment for schools, while also providing training on best practices to current staff. And, by making operations more efficient, SSC helps districts save money – up to 20 percent on the facilities operating budget – without cutting staff.

Durham Public Schools in North Carolina, for example, has saved an estimated $2 million altogether since it partnered with SSC in 2005.

“Any money that we save goes directly into teaching and learning,” said Minnie Forte-Brown, a member of the Durham Board of Education. “The bottom line is that all goes to help the district accomplish its one goal, which is student achievement and making sure that students are ready for the 21st century.”

Want to learn more? Get in touch with SSC to find out how we can help you spend more time on the people who matter most.

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