One of the arguments against data-infused teacher evaluations, higher standards and Common Core, and measuring student academic growth is that these initiatives deflate teacher morale and lead to attrition. For example, last November NEA published a survey that examines the impact of "over-testing" and concluded,
Teachers love their work, and the NEA survey found that 75 percent of teachers are satisfied with their jobs. However, the data also indicate that toxic testing environments contribute to lower job satisfaction and thoughts of leaving the profession. Despite the high level of overall satisfaction, nearly half (45 percent) of surveyed member teachers have considered quitting because of standardized testing. Teachers are dedicated individuals and many succeed in focusing on the positive, but the fact that testing has prompted such a high percentage of educators to contemplate such a move underscores its corrosive effect on the profession.
However, today's Washington Post has the results of a new federal survey that comes to a different conclusion:
New teachers are far less likely to leave the profession than previously thought, according to federal data released Thursday.
Perhaps NEA's theory on the impact of standardized assessments on teacher retention needs, well, a little more testing.
Ten percent of teachers who began their careers in 2007-2008 left teaching after their first year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But attrition then leveled off, and five years into their careers, 83 percent were still teaching.
That figure — indicating that just 17 percent of new teachers left their jobs in the first five years — stands in stark contrast to the attrition statistic that has been repeated (and lamented) for years: That between 40 percent and 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within their first five years.