Why Are Teachers Leaving?

Employment prospects can be grim, and salaries bare bones. It has been more or less obvious that the profession is under fire in the public sector with teacher evaluations being tied to how well students score on standardized tests, with the erosion of tenure and attacks on teacher unions, (and unions in general).

Historically the public school teacher has enjoyed certain protections not enjoyed in the independent sectors unless employment has been protected on a contractual basis. But these kinds of contracts have been disappearing and replaced by At Will Agreements for faculty at a rapid rate in the past few years, and it is becoming more and more difficult for teachers to find a place to rest and practice an art and a research based science that takes time to perfect.

The emergence of the at-will employment agreement as the agreement of choice between faculty and employer means that the employer can terminate the teacher at any time for any reason. This is an uncomfortable relationship for faculty at best, and serves to degrade a climate of safety, trust and mutual respect.

The inverse of the matter is that faculty can also end the relationship at any time for any reason, and in some settings this is presented to teachers as a form of mutual power in the relationship.

Unfortunately, the truth is that it is a tenuous relationship for both employer and employee. Those that suffer most are the children who depend on adults to make important decisions about their school life. Young people benefit most when supported by familiar and predictable patterns of care. A sense of place supports growth and development profoundly.


To put it simply; regular teacher turnover is not good for kids. It is not good for school.

The erosion of faculty job security in the public and independent school sector, particularly in the realm of just cause and the nature of contractual relationships, needs to be looked at with honest eyes and with the well being of our teachers and young people in the fore.

A look at contractual relationship issues and how they impact school culture….



About cthebean

Educator, musician, social justice activist...and now a blogger. Children deserve unflinching support from adults.....they deserve nothing less. All kids . Everybody's kids. Everywhere.
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2 Responses to Why Are Teachers Leaving?

  1. With the erosion of tenure on top of relatively low salaries, very little autonomy, few prospects for promotion, and teacher evaluations tied to student performance; who will want to teach?


  2. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Public schools are inextricably linked to the communities they’re located in. A constant turnover in less experienced teachers coupled with the exodus of veteran teachers, who are literally being shoved out the door, will only further weaken the tenuous bonds in communities already reeling from the financial collapse. California’s ruling on tenure and seniority as “unconstitutional” isn’t going to help matters.

    It is important for concerned citizens to realize that the corporate interests aren’t looking to merely reform public education, they’re looking to crush it. It’s frightening to consider how many careers have already been snuffed out and how many students have had their confidence in education shattered because they didn’t pass the class-biased standardized tests. Great article, Christine.

    Liked by 1 person

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