Monday numbers: A closer look at teacher attrition rates in NC

By: - March 7, 2022 6:00 am

As North Carolina schools experience unprecedented learning loss across all grades, the state is facing another challenge: How to keep and recruit the best and brightest teachers.

It is, in large part, those educators who will determine how well North Carolina’s school children bounce back academically two years into the pandemic.

New data released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction last week found 8.2% of the state’s teachers resigned or retired last year. That’s 600 more teachers who left teaching jobs in the state than did the previous year.

On the bright side, state Superintendent Catherine Truitt said that the report shows that there was not a big surge of teachers leaving the classroom in the first 12 months of the pandemic.

“To be sure, attrition from the state’s teacher corps remains a concern and a challenge that we must address more aggressively,” Truitt said in a release from her office.

“Current staffing shortages and a high likelihood of the ‘Great Resignation’ hitting our schools at the end of this school year, should challenge us all to aggressively launch additional district and state level strategies to retain staff and fill vacancies before the next school year,” cautioned Eric Davis, chairman of the State Board of Education.

This week’s Monday numbers column takes a closer look at North Carolina’s teacher workforce and the turnover rate of the teaching profession.

94,328 — Total number of teaching positions for the 2020-2021 school year

8.2 — Percentage of North Carolina teachers who left employment in the state’s public schools during the 2020-21 school year

7,735  — Number of teachers who left the teaching profession in 2020-21

7,111 — Number of North Carolina teachers who left in 2019-2020

13,538 — The number of Beginning Teachers (fewer than three years of teaching experience) employed statewide

1,320 — The number of Beginning Teachers who left last year

9.75 — The attrition rate of 9.75% for Beginning Teachers was higher than the attrition rate (7.9%) for those not classified as a Beginning Teacher

44.6 — Percentage of teachers who said they were leaving the profession for “personal reasons”

579 — Number of teachers who resigned due to family responsibilities/childcare

462 — Number of teachers who left employment with NC public schools to teach in another state

689 — Number of teachers who left employment with NC public schools due to a career change

19.7 — Percentage of teachers (or 1,522) resigning to retire with full benefits

89 — Number of teachers who left the profession who specifically said they were dissatisfied with teaching

13 — Number of teachers dismissed by their local educational agency, or LEA

691 — Number of vacancies in K-5 grades in the core subjects (math, English/language arts, science, social studies)

134 — Number of instructional vacancies in science, grades 6-8

159 — Number of instructional vacancies in math, grades 9-12

854 — Number of teachers who left Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in the 2020-21 school year

824 — Number of teachers who left Wake County Schools in the 2020-21 school year

390 — Number of teachers who left Guilford County Schools

1 – Rank of Northampton County Schools in terms of highest attrition rate in the state, at 34.8 %

Learn more about the teacher turnover rate in your county in the State of the Teaching Profession in North Carolina report.

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Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.