Teachers Are Quitting At Record Rate

Overworked, overtired, disrespected and underpaid: is it any wonder that so many teachers quit their profession? In 2018, the rate of educators fleeing their public school jobs was as high as weíve ever seen it.

Although the numbers still arenít in for November and December, through October of last year, about 8.3 percent of teachers quit. Thatís the highest rate of departure since the Department of Labor started keeping tabs on teacher retention back in 2001.

The top reason for this has got to be money. Weíve seen teachers go on strike all around the country asking for fair wages and their complaints arenít unwarranted. Teachers earn about 57 percent of the salary that Americans with comparable education and experience do. Teachers are about 30 percent more likely than non-teachers to have to work a second job.

The other leading reason is also money. No, Iím not making the same point twice for emphasis Ė the schools themselves are underfunded. School budgets took a massive hit around the recession in 2008, and state legislatures havenít restored the money to them since. That means teachers donít have the resources to do their jobs properly, and itís often up to them to use their already meager salaries to buy necessary supplies.

The high number of quitters is also undoubtedly the result of a job market that has steadily improved over the past decade. With unemployment down overall, teachers have an easier time finding other work in other industries.

Thatís good for workers, but terrible for school districts. Most states report that they are experiencing a teacher shortage, and most of those states say that the problem has been getting worse in recent years. Itís even more terrible for the students who get stuck in overcrowded classrooms or with unqualified long-term substitutes to fill the gaps.

For some perspective on the situation, I highly encourage you to watch this heartbreaking Vice News video featuring eighteen teachers in Oklahoma who felt like they had no other choice but to quit:

Teachers are the lifeblood of the public education system, so itís disgraceful that they feel so undervalued that theyíre leaving in droves.

On the whole, teachers are a selfless bunch. Theyíre not asking to be rich, theyíre asking to make enough to live comfortably and provide for their own families in exchange for nurturing and educating the future generations of this country. That doesnít seem like too much to ask, but since theyíre not receiving it, itís no wonder that so many are quitting.


Thomas M
Thomas M26 days ago

thanks very much

Greta L
Greta L1 months ago

thank you for posting

Mia B
Mia B1 months ago


Kendra Ashcraft
Kendra Ashcraft1 months ago

We need a solution. Teachers and schools are just as valuable as any other professionals or community necessities.

Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hill1 months ago

Its a very important and difficult job. Perhaps you could pay them more.

Jessica C
Jessica C2 months ago

Not surprising

Barbara S
Barbara S2 months ago

Thank you

Thomas M
Thomas M2 months ago

Same here in the UK.

Nancy W
Nancy W2 months ago

Lack of self worth, economic stresses on children who are unable to focus. They are showing that the system is broke. Unfortunately the solutions to punish, lock downs, armed guns in the halls will only lead to more stress and inability to learn. Teachers are against a wall of pain and suffering in schools. Learning is torture and going to get to impossible in deteriorating environments. The USA is a rich country why can it pay a CEO but not a teacher or give resources for an advanced learning system; these opens doors to a future worth living in America. Children are the future. If your children aren't allowed to stand on the shoulders of giants or receive just common decent help then goodbye country. You have to pay people a living wage and keep teachers healthy, happy in balance too, countries sanity and evolution relies on a stable foundation.

Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

i taught in the 70's and there was NO locked doors, no guns--disrespect was dealt with in the office(spanking) or by the parents(some didnt bother) very few issues...now fast forward to today...i paid to keep up my teaching certificate 35 years and Illinois failed to send out notices since the state is broke..and now i am not certified to teach---except to do a lot of classes and money- to re certify-----and they wonder why they cant even get subs...i DO NOT prefer to work in a locked building