Contrary to popular belief, America produces enough teachers but too many are leaving the profession for other jobs, says the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) in No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America's Children (2003). According to this report, almost a third of all new teachers leave the classroom after three years and close to fifty percent leave after five years. These teachers leave their jobs for reasons other than retirement, such as poor working conditions and low salaries.
An analysis completed by Professor Richard M. Ingersoll of the University of Pennsylvania shows that teacher preparation programs significantly reduce attrition of first year teachers; the data is from a 2000-2001 Teacher Follow-up Survey. When teachers come into the classroom unprepared, attrition of first year teachers is at 25 percent according to Ingersoll's survey. But when teachers have engaged in a coherent preparation program that assesses knowledge and teaching skills, including extensive clinical practice designed to meet the needs of the schools and students they will serve, and when they provide support to beginning graduates, rates of beginning teacher attrition are at 12 percent, which is comparable to attrition in other professions.
The Commission calls for a national effort to improve teacher retention by fifty percent by 2006, creating incentives for those moving toward this goal and rewarding schools that achieve it.
For more information, go to: www.nctaf.org