In 2013, public school systems in the United States employed over 3 million teachers. A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education states that almost half a million U.S. teachers leave the profession each year. That means nearly 15% of all U.S. teachers dropout. Almost 50% of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years.
This high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools. The teacher dropout rate is nearly 20% higher at high-poverty school than at affluent schools. The primary reasons for the high teacher dropout rate are low salaries, and lack of support.
Most veteran teachers were not assigned a mentor, but instead found informal support from a caring colleague. However, not all new teachers found support. Often, veteran teachers remember their first year in the classroom as difficult, lonely, and unaided.
To prevent dropout, especially of new teachers, the report recommends induction programs that include multiple types of support and high-quality mentoring. Although it is not mandated, North Dakota does have support for all new educators through the state-funded Teacher Support System. These programs for teachers will nurture instructional skills and increase the teacher’s creative ability to enrich student lives. Better teachers grow better students which benefits our whole culture.
“It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – Earl Weaver (baseball manager)