Why Do Teachers Leave Before Retirement Age?

NPR recently published an article discussing the reasons so many teachers are leaving the profession before they reach retirement age. An estimated 8% of the U.S. teaching force leaves each year, twice as high as the rate in high-performing countries like Finland and Singapore, and significantly higher than non-teaching professions. 

 “The teaching force is ‘a leaky bucket, losing hundreds of thousands of teachers each year — the majority of them before retirement age,’ says a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute.” – NPR’s Eric Westervelt

“The teaching force is ‘a leaky bucket, losing hundreds of thousands of teachers each year — the majority of them before retirement age,’ says a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute.” – NPR’s Eric Westervelt

According to NPR, there are many reasons that teachers leave before retirement age, both personal and professional. Teachers make 20% less at the beginning of their careers than other college graduates. Many educators feel that they’re left out of key discussions and should have a bigger voice. Teachers are also often not well-prepared; those who are prepared leave at two times lower rates than those who aren’t fully prepared. NPR also asked four former teachers why they left the profession. Answers included a lack of resources, too much emphasis on testing, and a bad political environment.

At Elevate Teachers, we’ve heard a lot of these reasons before.  If we don’t fix these problems, teacher morale will continue to plummet, and the teacher shortage will only continue to grow.

What do you think about teachers leaving the profession before they reach retirement age? Leave your comments below.

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