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State Report Reveals Over 25 Percent of Teachers Leave Profession After Three Years

State Report Reveals Over 25 Percent of Teachers Leave Profession After Three Years

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) provides a sobering look into the teacher shortage that the state is not alone in experiencing.

According to the Post Bulletin, the Minnesota Department of Education's 2017 Teacher Supply and Demand Report found that more than a quarter of teachers are leaving the profession after just three years in the field.

Minnesota is experiencing the same problems with teacher retention that many states are also experiencing:

  • Difficulty recruiting teachers to rural areas
  • Shortage of special education teachers, applicants
  • Inability to recruit needed numbers of math, science teachers
  • Problems diversifying the teaching workforce in a timely manner

According to the report, only 4.2 percent of the state's entire teaching workforce are teachers of color despite an increasingly diverse student body.

These problems are "being felt all around Minnesota, previously it used to be something that was really only impacting greater Minnesota, but it's absolutely an issue all around the state now," said Josh Collins, communications director with MDE to the Post Bulletin.

Recently, Education World's contributor and veteran educator Keith Lambert analyzed why new teachers become inclined to leave the profession.

According to Lambert, factors like the burden of collecting student data, meddling policymakers constantly changing initiatives and the failure of school funding formulas are just some of the reasons behind the exodus.

"People entering the education field tend to be ambitious, passionate, and lively. We choose to be on our feet all day: popping from table to table, often performing to engage students, and immersing them in active, relevant, real-world issues that get them on their feet and diving into the work. However, the job itself is increasingly sedentary," Lambert says.

"Our time, instead, is occupied with filling out Google Doc after Google Doc. Answering emails. Constructing and submitting daily lesson plan documents. Webinars. PowerPoint presentations. Computer-adaptive testing. Teachers spend more time in front of the screen than in front of the students, with some seriously unhealthy consequences."

As a result, over 15.7 percent of teachers leave the profession on an annual basis and 40 percent of undergraduates who pursue education never even enter the classroom.

In states like Minnesota, the retention problem is becoming a dire situation.

"Please don't allow our children, our teachers and public education to be a casualty of politics. We are at a critical juncture, and we are in need of support from all legislators, regardless of party affiliation," said one of the state's superintendent Belinda Selfors at a recent event, according to the Post Bulletin.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

2/13/2017

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