Many have asserted that COVID robbed students in Washington State with regard to learning, and that post-pandemic, it would be a gradual climb to return to pre-pandemic levels.  That could become more challenging based on a recent report.

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A policy brief authored by Dan Goldhaber, Director of the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) and Roddy Theobald, Deputy Director of CALDER, shows Washington State is losing teachers at a record pace.

Attrition and Turnover of Teachers are at Historic Highs

In the brief, the researchers reveal that attrition rate in 2022 among teachers in Washington State was nearly 9% while the turnover rate in 2022 was just under 20%.  The attrition rate was over a full point more than any other year of attrition in nearly 40 years.  The turnover rate in roughly half a percentage point above the previous high in their data.

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images
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Why are Those Numbers So High?

The brief focuses on different categories of teachers.  They separate them in to three: those in the profession 0-5 years (early career), 5-20 years (mid-career), and educators with 10+ years (later career) in the classroom.  According to the data presented, the larger attrition areas are among early and mid career teachers, with nearly as many leaving the workforce as switching schools in 2022.

There is another thing to be concerned about

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Most of the increase in turnover that Goldhaber and Theobold discovered occurred in higher poverty schools.  The poverty level of a school is measured by the percentage of students that receive free or reduced-price lunch.  They admit in the brief that higher poverty schools normally have a higher turnover rate that low poverty schools, but their data showed in the final year of the pandemic there was a significant turnover increase, going from just over 2.1% in 2021 to nearly 4.5% in 2022.

Read the brief as well as look at all of the data compiled by the authors here.

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