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Report Shows Slightly Fewer NC Teachers Leaving Classrooms


Slightly fewer North Carolina teachers left the profession in the 2017-2018 school year, according to the annual state report on turnover. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are seeing similar results. The report will be presented to state board of education members on Wednesday.

The report’s findings show that the number of teachers who left school districts in the state went from 9 percent in 2015 to just over 8 percent last year. That translates to about 7,700 teachers leaving the state last year. Most, nearly 54 percent, left for personal reasons, such as retirement or their families relocated. Those dismissed by their districts increased from 8 percent to almost 11 percent.

State Senator Phil Berger sees the report as evidence that the state is on the right track to retain teachers, despite calls by many teachers’ unions and Democrats for increased salaries and better benefits for teachers.

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Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, is not so impressed with the report. He says more than 7 percent of experienced teachers are still leaving and he’s especially concerned about the rate of new teachers leaving, those with three years of experience or less.

“Beginning teachers are over 12 percent which is very concerning that we have such a high number of beginning teachers that are leaving,” Jewell said. “The fact that most veteran educators are ready to retire are staying but 50 percent of our teaching force will retire in the next 10 years, so the biggest concern in this report for me is who is going to fill these positions when we have a college pipeline that is pretty much depleted in our university programs across the state?"

The report finds that 25 percent of all the teachers who left last year had three years or less of experience.

In CMS, where close to 9,000 teachers are employed, about 1,100 left the district last year. Of that number, 290 stayed in education elsewhere. CMS officials were able to attract 213 teachers from other districts in the state. In Wake County, which has about 1,300 more teachers, just over 1,000 left the district. In nearby Cabarrus County, 213 of that district’s nearly 2,000 teachers left; 90 out of 1,000 left in Catawba County; 50 out of 289 teachers in Hickory left; 148 of 1.250 teachers in Iredell-Statesville left and more than 13 percent of Rowan-Salisbury schools teachers left last year.

The report also looked at teacher vacancies. Charlotte had 47 on the first day of school and 121 by day 40. Wake County had about 1,600 and 102 vacancies during that same time.

In addition, the report found elementary positions in core subjects the hardest to fill. Math positions had the most vacancies in middle schools and career tech positions the highest open spots in high schools.