Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Teachers More Likely To Leave The Profession

Sarasota County math teacher Brenda Fuoco.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Sarasota County math teacher Brenda Fuoco.

Florida teachers are leaving the classroom at a faster rate than the national average, according to a new study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Richard Ingersoll for the Alliance for Excellent Education.

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.

Hat tip to our friends at StateImpact Indiana for pointing out the study.


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