The Wall Street Journal left a gift under the tree to the educational press by publishing an article on December 28 with the headline "Teachers quit their jobs at the highest rate on record." The Journal cited figures from the US Department of Labor revealing that public education workers quit at a rate of 0.83% per month in 2018, the highest rate since this statistic was first compiled. times in 2001. The rest of the story has been devoted to why this could be so.
The left, right, and center media picked up the story. All cited the Journal's findings, but none of them bothered to consult the source data for additional context - which does not support this conclusion. Either way, the context doesn't easily lend itself to alarmist tweets and captions about teachers "dropping out of class en masse."
To be fair, Journalists have included some context on the numbers, and they don't write the headlines. But their story clearly repeats the mistaken narrative that public online essay writer education is going through a retention crisis.
The government statistics cited in the story come from the ministry's Job Openings and Turnover Survey - aptly called JOLTS. It is published monthly and details the number of hires, layoffs, resignations - resignations, in the parlance of the department - and retirements across all major categories of the US economy. What he does not have - and this is specifically stated in his frequently asked questions - are “turnover rates by occupation”.
Neither the US Department of Labor nor the Wall Street Journal knows how many public school teachers are resigning.
What JOLTS is telling us is the dropout rate of the 10 million education workers employed by state and local governments, of which about 5 million are certified teachers, broadly defined. Hundreds of other professions are also included, such as administrators, accounting and finance specialists, computer and database analysts, psychologists, counselors, social workers, public relations specialists, speech pathologists, security guards, food service workers, landscapers, receptionists, clerks, construction and maintenance workers, vehicle maintenance workers and other laborers.
While it is possible that teachers are leaving at an all-time high, it is also possible that they are not, and that the increase in numbers is due to the fact that office workers, guards, drivers of buses and nurses leave at an accelerated pace.
Let's take a closer look at this dropout rate. The Journal article mentions that the average monthly public education rate of 0.83 is "still much lower than the rate for all working Americans," which is 2.31. What history doesn't mention is that it is lower than the quit rate for every other job class except one - federal employees.
What about the rate of increase? The drop-out rate for teachers reached a record high of 0.48 in 2009 and has therefore increased by 73%. Alarming, yes? But only if you ignore the rest of the US economy, which had a quit rate of 1.35 in 2009 and therefore grew by 71%.
Over the past year, the evolution of resignation rates of employees in the education sector has failed the JOLTS 'significance test', even though those in the private sector as a whole have. as six individual categories. I searched unsuccessfully for a national article on dropout rates in the entertainment industry, one that was accepted as having passed the test.
There is another nuance in the JOLTS data. “Resignations” include those who left their current job to take on another job. Thus, if a teacher leaves District A for a better paying job in District B, he leaves and is counted in the statistics. If we look at departures without looking at hires, we only get half the picture.
There is no shortage of articles on the teacher shortage in the national press. Is it so difficult to replace teachers who leave? To answer this question, we need to include all teachers who have retired and been made redundant in the number of leaving. Fortunately, JOLTS does it for us.
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