Lessons lost - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Lessons lost

Idaho teachers leaving profession in bigger numbers

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Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2012 12:00 am

BOISE - Idaho teachers are leaving the profession in bigger numbers, with more than 1,800 making their exit last year, but at the same time, more individuals are getting certified to become educators, the state Department of Education said Friday.

The agency's data also shows an increase in the number of individuals seeking an alternative, quicker route to certification in Idaho instead of attending a traditional four-year education program offered through a college or university.

More than 957 of the 1,884 teachers who left the profession during the 2011-2012 school year cited "personal reasons." The departures increased significantly from the previous year, when 1,276 teachers left the profession, and the year before, when 716 exited.

Melissa McGrath, Idaho Department of Education spokeswoman, told The Press her department recognizes that some teachers have chosen to leave the profession for various reasons.

"Idaho has always had a high attrition rate among teachers. That has increased since the economic recession and public schools have faced financial difficulty," McGrath said. "Still, we are excited that since Idaho's education reform laws passed and the state has begun to increase funding for public schools again, more individuals are choosing to enter the teaching profession."

In the Coeur d'Alene School District, 32 certified staff members resigned or retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year. School officials say that number is slightly lower than it has been in recent years.

"I am not aware that the reasons were any different than prior years," said Kelly Ostrum, the Coeur d'Alene district's human resources director. "Reasons that we know of included spouse's relocation with a job, raising a family, received job in another school district in or out of Idaho, received job outside of education, and retirement."

While the state's data shows there were about 150 fewer Idaho certified teachers last year compared to the previous year, the department said the number of certificated employees in the state's public school system overall, when including positions such as school counselors and principals, has remained relatively unchanged.

"What I'm finding is that we're losing good young teachers to Washington because we can't compete," said Brad Murray, the assistant superintendent in the Lakeland School District.

The Lakeland district had 26 teachers leave last year, a mix of retirements and resignations for other reasons. About 10 of those teachers left for employment elsewhere, Murray said.

"A number have gone over to Central Valley," Murray said.

Post Falls Superintendent Jerry Keane said he's unaware of any Post Falls teachers leaving the profession last year, but they too have seen teachers leave to accept employment in other states.

"We are a little concerned about teachers leaving for Washington," Murray said.

There were 17,851 certificated individuals working in Idaho's schools last year, compared to 17,915 the previous year.

The Idaho Education Association requested the data from the department, which then released the numbers to reporters. Last year, the statewide teachers union attributed the increased exits to new education reforms that limited collective bargaining and eliminated job protections.

But public schools chief Tom Luna countered that his education changes, which are subject to voter approval in November, weren't to blame for the jump in departures. He argued that the recession was more likely the culprit for why more teachers were ditching the profession.

Luna's office maintained that argument for the latest data, saying the biggest reported increase in the number of teachers leaving the profession was last year, when the agency said nearly 1,300 teachers exited during the 2010-2011 school year. That was up 600 from the previous year.

The latest data shows an increase of 560 leaving the profession during the 2011-2012 academic year.

"It's clear that when you look at the data over the course of the past few years, this has more to do with economic recession than with education reforms," McGrath said.

With more teachers leaving, Luna's department highlighted the increase in the number of teaching certificates being issued. The department's data shows the state issued 1,433 teaching certificates last year, compared to 1,138 in the previous year.

The increase comes as more seek an alternative route to certification offered by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, according to the data. The ABCTE allows individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a different field, and likely worked in another area, to obtain their teaching certification through an accelerated program.

These individuals work in a public school with provisional certification for two years before they are fully certified, McGrath said. The data shows more than 570 teachers earned certification through the ABCTE route last year, compared to 367 during the previous year.

Staff writer Maureen Dolan contributed to this report.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • hooper posted at 12:56 pm on Sun, Sep 30, 2012.

    hooper Posts: 89

    You must be one of those low-IQ TROLLS who enjoy some perverse sense of self-importance by insulting public servants in blogs, but who would be reduced to a blubbering mass of useless protoplasm in one day by a single class of middle schoolers, let alone 5 or 6 classes of them per day, totalling 140 or so students, year after year. Angry that you couldn't compete because you don't possess the skills or temperament to be a teacher?

  • jmowreader posted at 4:25 pm on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    jmowreader Posts: 1494

    Apparently they don't teach Economics in tape measure reading school or whatever the heck Luna's online degree is in.

    State A pays its teachers poorly...but to make up for it, they instituted a plan where teachers who teach to the test really, really well might get a little more money. Oh, and they're going to put one laptop per student in every high school, but get the money to pay for them out of the budget used to fund teacher salaries. But they're not replacing teachers with technology, o no!

    State B pays its teachers...well, less poorly...and DOESN'T plan to fire teachers to raise money for laptops. And it's so close to State A, you can live in your current house and just drive to your new job.

    Is there any wonder why we've got an exodus of teachers to Central Valley School District?

  • martman posted at 9:20 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    martman Posts: 16

    Studentsts Come First is a disaster for education in Idaho and anyone who understands teaching and teachers knows it.

  • my own opinion posted at 9:07 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    Idaho business is plain rude to workers 10, 20, 30hrs of forced labor over a 40hr (is it written we have no choice)?? week and not much more pay because the taxman takes that. Work life balance and fair wages are not in Idaho and not for Idaho workers. That is your answer why people leave why slave away all your days off because they want you to work those too. I would love to be a teacher but not here in Idaho. The whole employment in Idaho is messed up all jobs not just teachers are treated like poo.

  • mister d posted at 8:26 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    A lot of teachers are leaving for better pay and support from their Supt of Public Instruction which they do notreceive in Idaho. Idaho is the bottom of the barrel for supporting teachers, no wonder those who can uproot their families are leaving. It seems funny that if the Luna laws were as good for the teaching profession and kids as Luna spins it that more teachers wouldn't support them. Good tachers will continue to leave and look for jobs where they are supported and they can provide the best for their families, just like most people. The new ones will stay until they get some experience and a regular teaching certificate from idaho so they can move on to other states that won't support those provisional certificates. idaho is pretty desperate for teachers.

  • Fralphgob posted at 8:00 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    "public schools chief Tom Luna countered that his education changes, which are subject to voter approval in November, weren't to blame for the jump in departures. He argued that the recession was more likely the culprit for why more teachers were ditching the profession."

    Two years ago Idaho lost just over 700 teachers. Then, our legislature passed the Luna ed reform laws called "Students Come First". We lost 1300 teachers immediately following, then last year moving into this year, we lost another 1800 teachers. Mr. Luna wants us to believe that this drain of talent from our state is due to the recession. Help me to understand, people are leaving their jobs because we are in the midst of a deep recession? Mr. Luna wants me to believe that teachers are quitting jobs because of a downturn in the economy. I am at a loss for words. How many people quit a job when there are no other jobs to get? Now we are certifying people who are not trained to be teachers and this is a good thing? We are replacing highly trained professional teachers with people who are turning to teaching because they can't find employment elsewhere? This is a good for our children? His statements reveal that he is completed deluded. "Students come First" is a disaster. It is education for profit, anti teacher, and bad for students. Teachers are leaving because they are tired of being treated poorly, having their salaries robbed in order to fund computers and a badly designed merit pay system, and because they can go to other states all around us and have some job security and be treated with respect. Idaho needs to wake up, repeal these laws, and give Mr. Luna and our legislature a slap in the face. Vote no, no and no in November on Props 1,2 and 3 and get rid of this farce masquerading as Education reform.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 7:36 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    You must be one of those FEW Bad Teachers that hurt the image of the rest and are afraid of fair evaluations of job performance and the best being paid incentive for their superior work.

    Angry that all those teachers are good enough to find a job elsewhere, as you imply, and you can't and aren't? Competition Promotes Excellence and our kids deserve Excellence from our Public Servants.

  • voxpop posted at 4:47 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    First off there’s no reason to assume these teachers left the profession. As the article implies, much more likely they only left IDAHO. Why put yourself through the constant insults from a legislature that resents having to pay a fair salary, not to mention their eagerness to be 50th in the nation in public education financial support. Or the acrimony of parents who expect you to correct all their mistakes in rearing. Or being the scapegoat for so many students who’ve figured out they can slide and blame teachers for their failures. Why read articles in the paper which foster the local feeling that teaching is just glorified and overpaid baby sitting. Idaho treats its teachers like society treated soldiers returning from Vietnam. Why stick around for that.

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