Jan 1, 1991
Teachers have come under increasing scrutiny over the past several years as part of the continuing national debate on the quality and appropriateness of American schooling. Discussion has focused on the quality of the teaching force, the adequacy of teacher compensation, the potential for teacher shortages, and the patterns and magnitude of teacher attrition. This study focuses on Indiana public school teachers, using data that cover 24 years. Among the specific issues that the report addresses are (1) whether teachers are leaving the profession at growing rates; (2) the roles compensation and working conditions play in retaining teachers in the profession; (3) whether shortages of teachers are likely; (4) whether more attractive job opportunities are increasing attrition rates for women teachers; (5) what types of teachers stay longest in the profession; and (6) how attrition rates differ by subject taught. The findings indicate that teacher attrition rates are at their lowest level in 25 years. Female attrition rates have fallen much faster than male rates. This trend is attributable to the increasing labor force participation of women. Another demographic trend that has contributed to reducing teacher attrition is the greater proportion of entering teachers who are older. Finally, the analysis shows that teacher compensation and working conditions significantly affect attrition. Over the next ten years, teacher attrition rates should remain low, provided that pay levels are maintained in real terms.