State study suggests Georgia teachers are not fleeing classroom. Stability highest in rural areas.

A new state study finds turnover is not high among Georgia teachers, even those in math and science.

A new state study finds turnover is not high among Georgia teachers, even those in math and science.

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement released interesting data on teacher retention in Georgia, showing the exodus out of the classroom is not that great.

The GOSA report includes teachers who leave the profession but return to the classroom later or take other education jobs. That broader view shows many more teachers staying in the field than had been assumed.

“This analysis is important because its findings clearly refute the long-held notion that half of Georgia’s teachers leave the profession within five years,” said GOSA executive director Kathleen Mathers.  “Instead, by appropriately broadening the definition of retention, we’ve learned that nearly 75 percent of Georgia’s new teachers remain in public education after five years.”

The report used Georgia public school employment data from 1998-2009. Among the findings:

–Of teachers who began teaching when they were less than 26 years old, nonwhite teachers and male teachers had higher retention rates than white and female teachers.  Nonwhite teachers who left teaching were more than twice as likely to return to a professional role in public education as white teachers.

–Nearly 73 percent of teachers in Georgia’s rural school districts remained in public education after 10 years, while teachers in urban and suburban districts outside of metro Atlanta persisted in teaching at a rate of nearly 66 percent, and teachers in the 20-county metro Atlanta area persisted at nearly 59 percent.

–Approximately 72 percent of new math and science teachers remained in public education after five years, compared with the nearly 75 percent of all new Georgia teachers.

“This analysis, which used actual Georgia employment data, suggests that Georgia teachers are staying in our schools for longer and in greater numbers than many people commonly assume,” said Eric Wearne, GOSA’s deputy director.  “Also, many teachers are returning to our schools after brief stints away, possibly at home with small children or in graduate school.  Both of these results indicate that Georgia is an attractive place to work in education.”

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Proud Black Man

September 20th, 2010
6:19 am

“Of teachers who began teaching when they were less than 26 years old, nonwhite teachers and male teachers had higher retention rates than white and female teachers.”

Tell ME something new. We have LONG knew this in my district.

Grad Student

September 20th, 2010
6:55 am

This is a good start but wholly insufficient for policy making. The other side of those numbers is that 25-30% of teachers do leave the profession, which still sounds like a high number to me. What is the turnover rate in other professions for comparison? How much does it cost to hire a new teacher versus keeping one? And, do these teachers stay in the same school, or move to other schools? Finally, of course, we may want more teachers to leave the profession, if they are as ineffective as previous reports would have us believe.

Kim Kahwach

September 20th, 2010
7:35 am

I urge anyone that cares about this issue to read, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” by Diane Ravitch. They are just setting us up for corporate take over of our schools. New York went through this too.

just a point

September 20th, 2010
8:13 am

Seeing how this study encompasses the time frame of our “recession”, based on the economy, I’d say that many teachers have stayed put in their jobs (those who weren’t let go, that is) to be able to have a job. It’s not like the private sector is actively hiring these days. I don’t think Georgia has to worry about its past ability to keep teachers, I think it should worry about when the economy does improve and the private sector is hiring again.

Teacher Reader

September 20th, 2010
8:53 am

Of course teacher retention is going to be higher in rural areas. Rural areas far fewer ways to make a nice living. Teaching retention is high is most rural areas. This is a no brainer. GA unemployment is 10%. Those that have jobs, want to keep them, as work isn’t easy to find.

I agree with Just A Point. This study means little given the recession it took place in. I know too many teachers who want to get out, but are stuck because there are very few jobs to be found.

This study was a waste of money, and propaganda to try to make Georgians feel good about their education. We’re near the bottom. Until that changes, educated people aren’t going to feel good about education in Georgia.

chuck

September 20th, 2010
8:56 am

Wow Maureen, you were up mighty late. I agree with grad student to a degree. 25-30% is a really high turnover rate. Part of that is that we don’t do a really good job of preparing and inducting new teachers. This can be an overwhelming job, especially in the beginning. We typically throw new teachers to the wolves and hope they survive. The best way to induct new teachers is to place them in a room with a veteran teacher who supervises and supports the new teacher in a co-teaching model. The new teacher would be hired at a reduced rate contract for the year and would be responsible for much of the planning and teaching. The veteran teacher would work to correct poor methods, help the new teacher establish classroom discipline, and give regular feedback. This system should replace the “student teacher” model that we have now. How many of you are aware that a student teacher (intern) is in the school for a full semester, but is only required to teach a minimum of 4 weeks? It is no wonder that they are under-prepared for the classroom when they get their first teaching job.

21 years ago when I student taught, we were on the quarter system rather than semesters. I asked if I could begin teaching after 3 days of “observation” rather than the normal 3 weeks. I taught for the entire quarter and then stayed 2 more weeks afterwards so that I could learn what it was like to close out the school year. I didn’t have to do that, but I wanted to be prepared.

Maureen Downey

September 20th, 2010
9:02 am

I think the recession will certainly play a role in teacher retention starting in 2008, but I am not sure it would have been a huge factor in 1998 through 2006 or even 2007. We were all busy back then writing about the teacher shortage and how teachers were going to be in short supply everywhere. I am beginning to doubt the value of forecasting — so much of what was expected in education failed to occur.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

September 20th, 2010
9:09 am

Grad student, Of course, the question is whether the ineffective teachers are the ones leaving. I have run into bright people who left teaching not because of the challenges of the classroom, but all the mindless stuff they say they were forced to do, including vacuous training, endless meetings and repetitive paperwork. It was noted teacher retention researcher Richard Ingersoll — formerly of UGA and now at the University of Pennsylvania — who told me once that he would likely still be a high school teacher if he had been given basic things like a telephone and planning breaks and had teachers been given a greater voice in how the school operated.
Maureen

Judge Smails

September 20th, 2010
9:20 am

Why the disparity between “non whites” staying in the profession and whites leaving the profession? Is there any correlation with standarized test scores to these phenomena? What about the “situation” at APS and the cheating investigation?

fultonschoolsparent

September 20th, 2010
9:38 am

A comment on teacher training – you’ve got to wonder if those student teachers are even getting their four weeks of training given the testing climate. How many teachers want to totally hand over their classrooms to a novice when it could impact their test scores? I think that there would be a “let’s not, but say we did” approach to letting a novice take over too much.

Robert Bassett

September 20th, 2010
9:56 am

Proud black man, please check your grammar. We have KNOWN!!

chuck

September 20th, 2010
10:18 am

Maureen, the reason we were talking about teacher retention back then was because of the number of teachers eligible for retirement,the expected increased need for teachers due to lowering class sizes, AND teachers leaving the profession, which apparently 25-30% do. One of the foremost authorities on teacher retention is Richard Ingersoll. He has studied this topic thoroughly (sp?). One of his articles is available at this url:

http://depts.washington.edu/ctpmail/PDFs/Shortage-RI-09-2003.pdf

If you google him you will find a number of articles on this topic that are very enlightening.

chuck

September 20th, 2010
10:19 am

oops. I see that you are familiar with Ingersoll.

Dr NO

September 20th, 2010
10:20 am

Training goooood.

chuck

September 20th, 2010
10:39 am

I have had interns each of the last 3 years and that has been a consideration. I don’t allow my interns to teach JUST 4 weeks. Typically they will teach from 7-10 weeks. I have to make sure that they teach what I know my students will need to pass the test. I approve all of their lesson plans well before they begin teaching. I monitor their teaching of the Standards to insure that they have covered all that I need them to cover during the time frame that they are teaching. While I have some down time while they are teaching, I have to be much more hands on than in the past when I had them.

Maureen Downey

September 20th, 2010
10:45 am

@chuck, I am a fan of his research and have found him to be very helpful on issues of teacher retention whenever I talk to him.
Maureen

LoveTeaching

September 20th, 2010
11:08 am

1. I will be leaving Georgia as soon as I can get a job elsewhere.
2. I student-taught in APS in 2004 and NEVER got to fully take over the class. It was a 3rd grade class, big testing year.

LLL

September 20th, 2010
11:20 am

25% may sound high, but what are the retention rates in other professions? How many newly highered engineers are in their field (ore reamin in GA) after 5 years?

Also, how does gender influence these rates? Many teachers are young females. Are young female college graduates in other fields also leave their professions at this rate – or is 25% really a high number?

Logic 05

September 20th, 2010
11:40 am

All education should be privatized.
The teachers’ union and endless restrictions are killing education. We all know teachers that should have been fired years ago and the top heavy administration is found in almost every district.

Why not let the parents decide? Not some little $2,000 voucher…take the average cost per student and give the parents that voucher. Prohibit the private school from charging anything more than the voucher…then let competition take over.

Tonya T.

September 20th, 2010
11:42 am

Logic05:

What you suggest is contradictory to free-market or the privatization you suggest. Government has no right to mandate the price a private-sector organization can charge short of preventing collusion or gauging.

Jessie R

September 20th, 2010
11:43 am

we mustin never privatize guventment schooling
they be the best

Jessie R

September 20th, 2010
11:45 am

Attention Tonya,

It is not a contradiction.
If private companies can match or beat the price of the public schools…why not let them give it a try. It is hard to imagine they could do any worse.

jim tavegia

September 20th, 2010
11:45 am

Who decides who is ineffective, Grad Student? Lazy, defective students are still a major problem. You cannot make someone learn. This is my 4th year and I have never seen so many lazy young people in my life.

Tonya T.

September 20th, 2010
11:49 am

Jessie R:

But they don’t. He said ‘prohibit’ schools from charging more than the voucher. That is a contradiction to free market principles. I see a place for the private market in education, so don’t charge at me. I just said you can’t FORCE private schools to take public vouchers or charge a certain rate.

budman

September 20th, 2010
11:50 am

Exactly where would teachers find another job. There are so few prospects in employment that teachers have few choices. The education is that, that and the other, I student taught many years ago, I found out earlier that warehousing kids is what the education system is really about. There are 3 types of students; those that will make good with the aid of a good teacher, those that will make it with or without out a teacher and those that will never make it with an army of teachers tutors. or what have you. So we lower the standards to help the born losers??? Yea some kind of progress!!!

Mike

September 20th, 2010
12:21 pm

Of course it’s an attractive place to teach..Show up, do a poor job, and get paid year after year. The rest of us have to actually perform at our jobs or we are out. There will never be a shortage of underperforming, over paid teachers in this state, this is where all the rejects and loser from other states come to get a stable job.. Clearly thats all we are hiring.

Bill

September 20th, 2010
12:23 pm

Of course the retention rate is an indicator that teaching in Georgia is an attractive profession (really??). You don’t think that some of these are simply dedicated individuals who continue to try to help kids instead of finding a more lucrative job elsewhere. There are people who are driven by more than self interest.

crosby

September 20th, 2010
12:24 pm

I did my student teaching at Douglas County high school. The second week there my supervising teacher had jury duty. I was handed over the class right then and there and it was sink or swim. It was a great experience and taught me a ton. I never gave the class back over until the end of the semester. My supervising teacher taught me a ton on how to have very good classroom management and discipline but do it with respect. Jill Bryson was her name and I have know been teaching for eight years in education and plan to retire from it.

crosby

September 20th, 2010
12:25 pm

good grief…I mean NOW not knoow.

Terri Jones

September 20th, 2010
12:26 pm

The more money put in education, it seems the dumber the students because. And that is because all the monies are going to dumb studies like this one and high paid administrators with on-line factory degrees that don’t mean nothing; most of them could’t get a job at a acar wash. THe teacher is the most
important element in a student’s success and they are the ones that get less monies and no support from the state, the administration and the parents. You go figure!!!!

catlady

September 20th, 2010
12:31 pm

No, Eric, it indicates that rural teachers had NO OTHER opportunities. Or that they feel tied to their area by family ties, or are not able/willing to drive 100 miles+ a day to work. And of course in a rural area things are often “depressed, ” but not to the degree currently. Do you remember the minipression in about 2001?

I am concerned that this is another self-serving piece of feel-good, pat us on the back research out of GOSA. (WHy did THEY do the study of teachers?)

Probably half my school would leave if they had respectable options. The joy has been taken away and replaced with a very different experience.

Well...

September 20th, 2010
1:04 pm

Mike, why don’t you volunteer to substitute teach for a few days and then get back to me on how teachers don’t perform.

Mike

September 20th, 2010
1:15 pm

Well… Last i heard the state was ranked 48th.. Everyone else is doing it better. The tired old “it’s hard you should do it” routine is tired and worn out. Time to perform..

Concerned 1

September 20th, 2010
1:27 pm

Amen Catlady…

sloboffthestreet

September 20th, 2010
1:38 pm

I find it laughable that there was ever the notion that they would leave. Lets see. Average household income in the U.S.. @$57,000. Average salary for one teacher in the state, @$50,000. Days per year worked by average U.S. family, both parents working, 500 days, average days worked by one Georgia Public School Teacher, 180. Average retirement benefit for average household income, 0. Average retirement benefit for Ga DOE teacher, 9.25% of gross salary annually, contributed by taxpayers, the fund management is taxpayer supported and guaranteed not only by the state but also by the federal government. Health insurance. self explanatory. Average workers sick days paid by employer annually, 0. Sick days provided to teachers annually, 12.5. Average workers personal days paid by employeer annually, 0. Personal days paid to teachers annually, 5. So besides the teacher associations, because we all have been told they are not unions, who else would have created such propaganda?? Whenever I hear a teacher complain about how overworked they are I always dare them to walk out the door and get back to me in a couple of years and tell me how much better their life is on the outside, what many refer to as the real world. As far as the comment by Well about volunteering, how about you do the job you get paid very well to do and quit asking everyone else to work for free picking up your slack. Again, if it’s to hard for your little brain, QUIT. There are a line of people qualified to take your place that don’t mind working for a living. With the exception of a few schools in Cobb, Gwinnett and a handfull others, Georgia public education S**KS and it’s all thanks to the wonderful government, legislature, DOE, State & Local Boards of Education, local administration and last but not least the teachers. Thanks for all you do!!! NOT!!!

chuck

September 20th, 2010
1:52 pm

Mike, you are part of the problem. You apparently know NOTHING about education in Georgia. I have worked in a number of fields in the past and I have found that there are lazy, good-for-nothing people in all of them. Some of the worst examples were in the retail field. I worked with people who had been there for 15-20 years and they spent more time trying to get out of work thant they would have spent actually doing the work.

In education there is a process for rooting out poor teachers. It is used seldom, because MOST teachers do their jobs and even above and beyond what they are required to do EVERY DAY. The problem for the most part, lies NOT with the teachers, but with the students. I am fortunate to work in a great school where MOST of the students are intrinsically motivated. My wife teaches math in a school where that is not the case. She assigned some problems for homework 1 day last week and only 2 out of 22 students bothered to complete it. Not 50 problems btw, but 10 problems.

While I am satisfied with what I make (I knew what I was going to make before I took the job), I am not overpaid. I am good at what I do and I still enjoy it after 21 years. I earn EVERY PENNY I make.

FLED

September 20th, 2010
2:05 pm

I left Georgia this year and could not be happier. I’m never coming back there.

Georgia teachers take it, and they keep dishing it out. I work overseas now, where I am well paid, respected, and am expected to be an intelligent, thoughtful professional.

Teaching in Georgia sucks: goodbye and good riddance.

HS Teacher

September 20th, 2010
2:19 pm

Hummm… is this the same group that published CRCT rates in APS? Or any of the other ’statistics’ regarding education? Are we really to believe that?

This is one GA teacher with exit plans set for next year. Good bye to you, my Peach State!

Mr D

September 20th, 2010
2:27 pm

I did not return this year after a2.4% pay cut and 8 furough days were scheduled. I’ve been teaching students with special needs for 12 years. Thanks but no thanks I’ll put my family first for a change.

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
2:28 pm

Maureen Downey

September 20th, 2010
9:09 am
Yeah, I would have stayed in the military if I would have had more say in where I was deployed and who was in charge. Makes a lot of sense huh!

Mike

September 20th, 2010
2:29 pm

More of the same from Chuck and company.. It’s the kids fault. Teachers in every state have to deal with the same kids issues that you do, yet they handle it better, they inspire the kids to work harder, and they motivate the kids. Teachers here in GA and you are a perfect example Chuck spend to much time throwing out excuses. You deal with the same issues with the kids that everyone else does, you just do it worse and handle it worse.. Enough excuses, more results.

Don’t tell me I am the problem, I knew someone was going to blame the kids.. Its YOUR JOB to teach and handle the kids. If the kids are failing look in the mirror to find the problem. You are the problem, not me for calling you out.

If you were in corporate America you would of been fired years ago. Ranked 48th out of 50 in any field gets you in the unemployment line.. Time to shut up, and get results. No more excuses.

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
2:31 pm

FLED

September 20th, 2010
2:05 pm
I wish I was there to wave goodbye! I hope you are a millionaire by now!

Booklover

September 20th, 2010
2:35 pm

@sloboffthestreet–

Your logic is faulty and your facts skewed. Teachers are *required* to have AT LEAST a bachelor’s degree and certification. Less than 30% of Georgians have even a four-year degree. Many teachers have master’s degrees and above.

When you compare the average teacher’s salary to the average Georgian’s salary, you are not making a logical comparison, because teachers are more educated than the average citizen.

Compare apples to apples, please. Compare teachers’ salaries to others with at least a bachelor’s degree, certification, and legal responsibilities: say, architects, engineers, and nurses.

Also, teachers are salaried, and if you actually talked to any, you would learn that most work 55-60 hours per week during the school year.

Let’s do the math: teachers work about 40 weeks a year: 40 weeks x 55 hours per week=2,200 hours worked per year.

Corporate job (even a crappy one with only 2 weeks vacation): 50 weeks x 40 hours per week=2,000 hours per year.

And don’t tell me most people in the corporate world take work home, because anyone who makes $27K per year, which is what I made my first year teaching in GA, is NOT taking work home. I know this because I used to work in the corporate world, and my first year I made $28K and did NOTHING. That is why I quit and became a teacher–do to something meaningful.

I’m leaving GA after this school year… I’ll go work 55 hours a week and make a difference somewhere else because I can.

Booklover

September 20th, 2010
2:37 pm

@Mike–

The kids are NOT the same in every state. Nor are the parents, nor are the communities. Up north there is much more respect for education and the average citizen is more highly educated.

citation: http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_bac_deg_or_hig_by_per-bachelor-s-degree-higher-percentage

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
2:39 pm

“Also, teachers are salaried, and if you actually talked to any, you would learn that most work 55-60 hours per week during the school year.”

I am sorry to disbelieve you but the only ones working that much per week are coaches. I guess you must be one of those who substitutes hours for competence.

Booklover

September 20th, 2010
2:39 pm

@Mike–
The vast majority of teachers are teaching, but the kids aren’t doing the work. Will you allow us to fire the kids? That is the logical end of your argument.

Booklover

September 20th, 2010
2:40 pm

@williebkind–
Good teachers work that much.
Want to come to my house this weekend while I grade 65 essays? Bring some red pens with you. Thanks dude!

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
2:41 pm

If education was voluntary teachers would not have that problem! Hey but that would mean more kids not indoctrinated by the liberal educators.

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
2:42 pm

No thanks Booklover, I chose to work 40hrs for minimum pay.