Skip Navigation
Click to open navigation
Indicators

This is a supplemental indicator. Unlike core indicators, which, for the most part, are updated yearly, supplemental indicators may only be updated periodically.

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).


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.


Seventy percent of the public school teachers who moved to other schools between 2011–12 and 2012–13 did so voluntarily, and the most common reasons included personal life factors (23 percent) and school factors (23 percent); less common reasons included assignment and classroom factors (5 percent), salary and other job benefits (4 percent), and student performance factors (1 percent).

The percentage of teachers leaving the profession did not change measurably during the most recent periods of 2007–08 to 2008–09 and 2011–12 to 2012–13 (both 8 percent). However, this percentage did increase over a longer time span, from 6 percent between 1987–88 and 1988–89 to 8 percent between 2011–12 and 2012–13. Of the 8 percent of public school teachers who left the profession between 2011–12 and 2012–13, some 38 percent had retired; 29 percent were working for a school or school district in a position in the field of K-12 education, but not as a regular K-12 classroom teacher; 9 percent were caring for a family member; and 8 percent were working in an occupation outside the field of education, including military service.


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.


Between 2011–12 and 2012–13, some 8 percent of male public school teachers moved to other schools, while another 6 percent left the teaching profession. Similarly, 8 percent of female public school teachers moved to other schools, and another 8 percent left the teaching profession. The percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic teachers who stayed at their current schools were higher than the percentages who moved to other schools or left the teaching profession. Among White public school teachers, 85 percent stayed at their 2011–12 school in 2012–13, while 7 percent moved to other schools and 8 percent left the profession. Among Black public school teachers, 78 percent stayed at their 2011–12 school in 2012–13, while 12 percent moved to other schools and 10 percent left the profession. Among Hispanic public school teachers, 79 percent stayed at their 2011–12 school in 2012–13, while 13 percent moved to other schools and 8 percent left the profession.


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.


The percentages of teachers who moved to other schools or left the teaching profession between 2011–12 and 2012–13 were compared by school poverty level.2 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. There were no measurable differences in the percentages of teachers who left the teaching profession by the poverty level of the school.


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.


Overall, the percentage of public school teachers leaving the teaching profession between 2011–12 and 2012–13 was highest among those teachers with more than 25 years of experience. Additionally, among teachers with more than 25 years of experience, a higher percentage left the teaching profession than moved to other schools (16 vs. 5 percent). In comparison, among teachers with only 2 years of experience, a higher percentage moved to other schools than left the teaching profession (14 vs. 7 percent). Also, a higher percentage of teachers with only 2 years of experience moved to other schools (14 percent) than did teachers with 11 to 20 years of experience (5 percent), teachers with 21 to 25 years of experience (7 percent), and teachers with more than 25 years of experience (5 percent). There were no measurable differences in the percentages of teachers who moved to other schools between teachers with 1 year or less experience, 2 years of experience, 3 years of experience, or 4 to 10 years of experience.


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.


Glossary Terms

Data Source