Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

RTV6 Takes Deep Dive Into Why Indiana Teachers Leave Profession

    The number of first-year educators granted a Hoosier state license dropped pretty dramatically last year. (Photo Credit: Sofia/Flickr)

    The number of Indiana educators leaving the profession dwarfs most other states. (Sofia/Flickr)

    Indiana has one of the lowest teacher retention rates in the country. Almost one in five educators will leave their jobs at the end of any academic year.

    Indiana’s average educator retention rate, which includes both teachers and administrators, is around 82 percent. In other words, Indiana schools keep 82 percent of their educators from school year to school year.

    This week, Kara Kenney from RTV6 took a close look at the state of Indiana’s teacher retention. According to the report, the concerns impacting teacher recruitment are public perception of teaching, compensation, standardized testing, job demands and stress.

    In her investigation, Kenney finds – not only is Indiana among the worst states at keeping teachers in their jobs, the state doesn’t know the real reasons teachers actually leave.

    From the report:

    The state of North Carolina tracks the reasons why every single teacher leaves and puts out a report to their legislature.

    Call 6 Investigates surveyed the 10 largest school districts in central Indiana and found only one, Perry Township, that appeared to track the specific reasons why teachers are leaving their classrooms. Those reasons included health, family needs, performance or a new job opportunity.

    Indiana does not require schools to track this information, nor does it put out a statewide report on teacher turnover.

    Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz told Call 6 Investigates in order track the reasons why teachers leave their classrooms, Indiana would have to enact a law like North Carolina’s.

    “I supposed it could be proposed in the General Assembly, which is where that would need to happen in order to get required information like that,” said Ritz.

    The report profiles teachers who left the profession for different reasons (stress and pay), deconstructs a national report on teacher retention and looks at Indiana districts succeeding and struggling to retain teachers.

    The largest takeaway? A lack of information. Districts and the state education department don’t have enough data on why teachers are departing — just that they are.

    RTV6 lists teacher turnover rate by school here.

    NPR’s education team also took a national look at teacher retention — and why so many teachers are calling it quits.

    There are, of course, many reasons both personal and professional.

    Let’s start with money. While teachers don’t get into the profession for the dough, money is a factor. Beginning teachers make about 20 percent less than college graduates in other fields.

    But overall, teachers and researchers say, educators want a bigger voice in school policies and plans. Many feel left out of key discussions.

    “Working conditions are even more important for keeping people in once they’ve made the choice to teach,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, the president of the Learning Policy Institute.

    Another key factor is preparation.

    “Teachers who are well prepared leave at more than two times lower rates than teachers who are not fully prepared,” Darling-Hammond says.



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