Report: One in five Idaho teachers leave their schools

BOISE — A new report shows that one in five Idaho teachers aren’t returning to work at their schools the following year.

“We’ve heard the stories, but now we have the evidence,” said state superintendent Sherri Ybarra. “The more we understand our challenges, the better we can address them.”

Ybarra’s State Department of Education released the results of its Idaho’s Educator Landscape study Monday. The report, created in partnership with Regional Education Laboratory Northwest, shows that Idaho’s average turnover rate of 19.7 percent exceeded the national average of 16 percent between the 2011-12 and 2016-17 school years.

Turnover is most apparent in Idaho’s high-poverty and low-performing schools. Here’s a comparison of average turnover rates:

  • Low-poverty schools: 15.2 percent.
  • High-poverty schools: 20 percent.
  • High-performing schools: 15.9 percent.
  • Low-performing schools: 23 percent.

Meanwhile, the percentage of teachers with less than four years of work experience grew from 17 percent in 2011-12 to 24 percent in 2016-17. This gap also plays out more clearly in high-poverty and low-performing schools.

Here’s a look at the average percentage of teachers with less than four years of experience in these schools:

  • Low-poverty: 18.9 percent
  • High-poverty: 33.2 percent
  • High-performing: 19.6 percent
  • Low-performing: 28.2 percent.

The report revealed other problems tied to teachers shortages:

  • Schools are struggling to keep up with increasing enrollments of English language learners. Nearly one-fourth of Idaho’s schools with at least 20 English learners did not have an English language development teacher in 2016-17.
  • Over the five-year study period, alternative teacher authorizations swelled from 3.3 percent to 8.4 percent in rural schools, and from 1.9 percent to 5.8 percent in non-rural schools.

“Several factors are contributing to these shortages,” the report notes, “including an aging work force, decreased enrollment in teacher preparation programs, and persistently high attrition from the profession.”

The findings follow the third year of funding for Idaho’s five-year, $250 million plan to boost teacher pay.

Further reading: Click here for a report on Idaho’s widespread and lingering teacher shortage and here to read about a 3.6 percent average increase in pay for Idaho teachers in 2017-18.


Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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