According to a recent study from the Alabama Commission on the Evaluation of Services, more than half of Alabama’s first-time teachers leave the classroom before the end of three years, generating a “churning turnover” that is expensive for certain districts and more difficult to address. The national five-year leave rate was found to be 44 percent, according to the research.
Even though it costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year, Alabama isn’t doing enough to retain teachers in the classroom, according to a new analysis. It costs between $9,000 and $40,000 to replace a first-time instructor. According to the research, schools spend a minimum of $10 million to $15 million a year to replace them.
According to this analysis, Alabama’s teacher shortage is at its root and may be remedied by focusing on first-time teachers and their retention rates. An organization called ACES has questioned the absence of statistics on teacher vacancies, a common indicator used by other states, which may assist identify where the largest needs are.
New teachers’ assistance and the diminishing employment of certified instructors were the subject of the paper, which experts believe might help maintain more competent teachers in the classroom.
In order to aid new teachers, ACES recommends that districts do more to support them. There are 134 school districts in Alabama where new teachers are mentored by seasoned teachers for the first two years of their careers. Alabama is currently mentoring 4,213 new teachers.
The state of Alabama’s Teacher Mentor Program has received steady funding since 2017, according to a new study. Each year, mentors earn $1,000 – described as “minimal” by the authors of a study – for at least 90 hours of service.
According to statistics released by the Alabama State Department of Education, there were slightly under 47,500 teachers working in Alabama schools in the 2020-21 school year.
More than just leaving the classroom on their own will, 14 percent of Alabama teachers have voluntarily stopped working since 2013, according to ACES. 20% of new teachers departed willingly and 11% were dismissed in the 10 districts with the greatest turnover, most of which were high-poverty and rural.
There were just 1% of new teachers dismissed in the 10 districts with the lowest turnover, and only 11% of those instructors left willingly.
According to the survey, one in four instructors who got a first-time teaching credential in Alabama since 2015 have not taught in the state’s public schools since that time. It’s not obvious whether they’ll go into private or online education, move to a new state, or pursue something else entirely.
Educators and legislators in Alabama have worked hard in the last few years to broaden the pool of potential teachers by creating new, less traditional routes into the profession in an effort to draw in those who might otherwise be turned off by the rigorous requirements of a traditional university education.
ACES advised policymakers to pay close attention to the ever-increasing number of teachers trained through alternative certification programs, stating that these programs have lower retention rates than traditional college-based teacher preparation programs, which could exacerbate high turnover rates already present.
Of the teachers who graduated from alternative programs in Alabama, 47% quit their jobs after three years, whereas just 31% of those who graduated from standard Bachelor’s degree programs did so.
Retention among teachers who used emergency certificates fell to 47 percent between 2006 and 2018, according to a research.
There has been a continuous increase in the number of teachers retiring in Alabama since 2006, according to the authors.
Teachers and other school workers are retiring at the greatest rate since 2010 when changes to retirement benefits sparked a large exodus, according to an AL.com investigation in 2021.
Since 2003, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in education-related subjects by Alabama’s college-based teacher preparation programs has decreased by 26%, according to the group’s inaugural report, which was released in November.
As of 2019, Alabama legislators established the ACES committee, which has already produced seven studies on issues such as incarceration, rural health care, and education.
The proportion of first-time teachers hired and kept by the same district for three years or longer, as calculated by ACES, is shown in the table below, starting in 2016. Columns in the table may be sorted.