Recruitment & Retention

Half of Those Leaving Teaching Report Better Working Conditions in Other Jobs

By Stephen Sawchuk — September 12, 2014 1 min read

That’s one of the key findings from a new federal study of teacher retention and mobility.

The data comes from the National Center on Education Statistics’ Teacher Follow-Up Survey from 2012-13, which is administered to a sample of teachers who participated in the much larger, nationally representative Schools and Staffing Survey the previous year.

Here’s a rundown of some of the data:


  • Of the 3.4 million public school teachers teaching in 2011-12, the data suggest that 84 percent stayed at their schools, 8 percent went to a different school, and 8 percent left the profession during the following year.
  • Teachers in years 1-3 of teaching were more likely to move to a different school (13 percent), but actually less likely to leave the profession altogether (7 percent), in contravention of the conventional wisdom.
  • Of particular interest, of teachers who left the teaching profession in 2012-13, 51 percent said they had a more manageable work load and 53 percent reported better working conditions in their current positions.

The data don’t tell much of a story about why these patterns appear—and it’s tempting, though speculative, to attribute them to recent occurrences, such as the country’s still-recovering economy or recent teacher-evaluation policy changes.

Still, there’s, a lot of data stuffed into this little report. You’ll want to dig in to all the findings here.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.