The great teacher exodus is upon us, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF), an organization that promotes quality teaching in schools. "Who Will Teach? Experience Matters," released by the organization in January 2010, notes that between 2004 and 2008 more than 300,000 veteran teachers left the workforce. New teachers, however, have a steep turnover rate, making it a struggle to fill the void. NCTAF believes the nation has a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to recreate workforce policies in order to retain the current fleet of teachers and prepare them to instill students with the skills needed to compete in a global economy.
The study, conducted over a oneyear period, examines teacher demographics and retirement policies and finds that the wearing out of first-year teachers has been steadily increasing since 1994. In 1987 and 1988, the average teacher had 15 years of experience compared to teachers in 2008 with one to two years of experience.
Teaching effectiveness in districts across the nation will be affected by this transition, says the study. The NCTAF has offered recommendations for schools, districts and states to improve the quality of education and reform their policies to create a 21st-century workforce: (1) Create state leadership coalitions to focus on developing a 21st-century-education workforce plan; (2) align retirement policies with workforce and educational goals; and (3) consider potential reforms to retirement plans.
For the full report, visit www.nctaf.org.