In 2008–09, some 8 percent of public school teachers left the teaching profession compared with 16 percent of private school teachers. Another 7 percent of all teachers moved from their 2007–08 school to a different school.
From school years 1988–89 to 2008–09, a lower percentage of public school teachers left the profession than private school teachers. In 1988–89, 6 percent of public school teachers, or 132,000 teachers, left the profession, while 13 percent of private school teachers, or 40,000 teachers, left the profession. Similarly, in 2008–09, some 8 percent of public school teachers, or 270,000 teachers, left the teaching profession, compared with 16 percent of private school teachers, or 77,000 teachers (see table A-32-1). The percentage of teachers in public schools who left the profession increased from 1988–89 to 2008–09. The percentage of private school teachers who left did not measurably change over the same time period.
In addition to teachers who left the teaching profession, another 7 percent of all teachers moved from their 2007–08 school to a different school (either outside or within their district or within or between sectors) for the following school year (see table A-32-2). Eight percent of public school teachers and 5 percent of private school teachers moved in 2008–09. The percentage of public school teachers who moved in 2008–09 was not measurably different from the percentage who moved in 1988–89 (8 percent in both years), but the percentage of private school teachers who moved was lower in 2008–09 (5 percent) than in 1988–89 (10 percent).
Overall, the percentage of teachers leaving the profession in 2008–09 was higher among teachers with the most teaching experience (20 years or more) and teachers with the least teaching experience (3 years or fewer), compared with teachers with 10 to 19 years of experience. There were no measurable differences in the percentages leaving teaching between teachers with the most or least amount of experience and teachers with 4 to 9 years of experience. Twelve percent of all teachers with 3 or fewer years of experience and 11 percent of teachers with 20 or more years of experience left the teaching profession in 2008–09, compared with 5 percent of teachers with 10 to 19 years of experience. The same pattern held true across experience levels for teachers in public schools who left teaching. Among private school teachers, a higher percentage of teachers with 3 or fewer years of teaching experience (23 percent) or 4 to 9 years of experience (17 percent) left the teaching profession in 2008–09, compared with private school teachers with 20 or more years of experience (11 percent).
Similar to teachers who left the profession, the percentage of teachers moving schools in 2008–09 was higher among teachers with the least amount of teaching experience. Thirteen percent of teachers with 3 or fewer years of experience moved schools, compared with between 5 and 9 percent of teachers with higher levels of experience. However, in contrast to the pattern observed among leavers, a smaller percentage of teachers with the highest amount of experience moved schools (5 percent), compared with teachers with 3 or fewer years (13 percent) or 4 to 9 years of experiences (9 percent).
Higher percentages of the youngest teachers than of teachers of other ages moved between schools in 2008–09. Overall, 14 percent of teachers under age 30 moved schools, compared with 7 percent of teachers ages 30 to 39, some 6 percent of those ages 40 to 49, some 5 percent of those ages 50 to 59, and 2 percent of those age 60 or over. The same pattern held for the youngest teachers at both public and private schools. The percentage of teachers age 60 or over who moved schools was lowest compared to teachers of all other age groups who moved.
When looking at teacher movers by region, a higher percentage of teachers in the South and West moved schools in 2008–09 than did teachers in the Northeast. The percentage of teachers moving schools in the South was also higher than that of teachers in the Midwest.
Stayers are those teachers who remained at the same school. Movers are those teachers who moved to a different school. Leavers are those teachers who left the profession. Teachers left the profession for a variety of reasons, including taking a job in a field other than elementary or secondary teaching, pursuing further education, leaving for family reasons, retiring, or other miscellaneous reasons. The denominator used to calculate the percentages in this indicator is the weighted number of School and Staffing Survey (SASS) teachers surveyed during the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) year. SASS teachers who died or left the country are excluded. For more information on SASS and TFS, see supplemental note 3. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. For more information on race/ethnicity and poverty, see supplemental note 1. Average base salary was calculated in 2009–10 school year constant dollars and adjusted using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For more information on the CPI, see supplemental note 10.
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