Skip Navigation
Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Teacher Turnover: Stayers, Movers, and Leavers

(Last Updated: November 2015)

A higher percentage of teachers from high-poverty schools (12 percent) than from mid-low or low poverty schools (6 percent each) moved to other schools between 2011–12 and 2012–13.

Some 84 percent of those who were public school teachers in school year 2011–12 stayed a teacher at the same school in 2012–13, while 8 percent moved to a position as a teacher at another school and 8 percent left the profession. (These three groups are referred to as stayers, movers, and leavers, respectively, in this indicator).1 Of the teachers who moved to other schools, the majority (59 percent) moved from one public school to another public school in the same school district, while smaller percentages moved to a different public school district (38 percent) or to a private school (3 percent).

Select a subgroup:

Select a subgroup characteristic from drop-down menu below to view relevant text and figures.

Figure 1. Percentage distribution of reasons for public school teacher movers changing schools from 2011–12 to 2012–13
Figure 1. Percentage distribution of reasons for public school teacher movers changing schools from 2011–12 to 2012–13

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: Movers are those teachers who moved to a different school. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), “Current Teacher Data File,” 2012–13. See Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2012–13 Teacher Follow-up Survey, table 4.

Figure 2. Percentage distribution of public school teacher stayers, movers, and leavers, by race/ethnicity: 2011–12 to 2012–13
Figure 2. Percentage distribution of public school teacher stayers, movers, and leavers, by race/ethnicity: 2011–12 to 2012–13

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: 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. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), “Current and Former Teacher Data Files,” 2012–13. See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 210.30.

Figure 3. Percentage of public school teacher movers and leavers, by 2011–12 school poverty level: 2011–12 to 2012–13
Figure 3. Percentage of public school teacher movers and leavers, by 2011–12 school poverty level: 2011–12 to 2012–13

NOTE: Movers are those teachers who moved to a different school. Leavers are those teachers who left the profession. High-poverty schools are defined as public schools where more than 75.0 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL), and mid-high poverty schools are those schools where 50.1 to 75.0 percent of students are eligible for FRPL. Mid-low poverty schools are defined as public schools where 25.1 to 50.0 percent of students are eligible for FRPL, and low-poverty schools are those schools where 25.0 percent or less of the students are eligible for FRPL.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), “Current and Former Teacher Data Files,” 2012–13. See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 210.30.

Figure 4. Percentage distribution of public school teacher stayers, movers, and leavers, by years of teaching experience: 2011–12 to 2012–13
Figure 4. Percentage distribution of public school teacher stayers, movers, and leavers, by years of teaching experience: 2011–12 to 2012–13

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: 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. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), “Current and Former Teacher Data Files,” 2012–13. See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 210.30.


1 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.

2 The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch under the National School Lunch Program was used as a proxy measure for school poverty level. High-poverty schools are defined as public schools where more than 75.0 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL), and mid-high poverty schools are those schools where 50.1 to 75.0 percent of students are eligible for FRPL. Mid-low poverty schools are defined as public schools where 25.1 to 50.0 percent of students are eligible for FRPL, and low-poverty schools are those schools where 25.0 percent or less of the students are eligible for FRPL.

Supplemental Information

Table 210.30 (Digest 2014): Mobility of public elementary and secondary teachers, by selected teacher and school characteristics: Selected years, 1987-88 through 2012-13;
Table 4 (Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey): Percentage distribution of public school teacher movers who changed schools involuntarily or who rated various reasons as the most important in their decision to move from their base year school: 2011–12 through 2012–13;
Table 6 (Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey): Total number and percentage distribution of public school teacher leavers, by their current occupational and industry status: 2012–13
CLOSE