New election brief highlights Utah’s teacher turnover rates and potential for teacher shortages

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 21, 2016 — Utah’s education system faces high turnover rates and potential for teacher shortages, according to a study released today by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the Utah Education Policy Center, and the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Approximately 40 percent of Utah educators who started in 2011 were no longer teaching in Utah’s classrooms at the end of their fifth year. This high turnover, which is similar to previous cohorts of teachers in the state, can add to training and recruiting costs, detract from instructional cohesion, and may negatively impact student achievement.

“Educators serve as the foundation for a high quality educational system and learning experience. Deliberate attention to the resources and supports necessary to recruit and retain excellent educators must be a priority to achieve the state’s desired educational and economic goals,” said Andrea Rorrer,  director of the Utah Education Policy Center.

Utah’s education system may face a teacher shortage as the school-age population continues to increase, while enrollment in and graduation from teacher preparation programs continues to decline. School districts report teacher shortages in certain specialties — specifically special education, some science disciplines, speech language pathology, mathematics, and some foreign languages.

According to the brief, Utah had over 27,000 public education teachers in 2015.

To combat turnover and shortages, the brief highlights a range of support mechanisms such as preparation, induction and mentoring programs; ongoing professional learning; competitive compensation; and favorable school and working conditions.

“This research reaffirms the need to address teacher turnover and shortages,” said Dianne Meppen, director of survey research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. “It also shows the need to highlight and celebrate educator success and to create a positive climate for educators in the state.”

The policy brief is part of INFORMED DECISIONS 2016, a collaboration with the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Utah Education Policy Center to help Utahns make informed decisions in the 2016 election. Previous election briefs covered the topics of taxes and early learning.

The full series of research briefs are available here.

About the Utah Education Policy Center

The Utah Education Policy Center (UEPC) at the University of Utah is a leader in providing valid and reliable research to support evidence-based decision-making. The UEPC engages in research and evaluation, professional learning, and technical assistance to help bridge research, policy, and practice through providing empirical and balanced information. Our work contributes to increasing educational equity, access, and opportunities for all children and adults in Utah, particularly for those who have been historically marginalized.

About the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah enhances Utah’s economy by placing data-driven research into the hands of decision makers. An initiative of the David Eccles School of Business, its mission is to develop and share economic, demographic and public policy data and research that help community leaders make informed decisions. The Gardner Policy institute is housed at the newly restored Thomas S. Monson Center, located on historic South Temple Street, where it serves as a vital gathering place for thought leadership. Learn more at http://gardner.utah.edu/ or by calling 801-587-3717.

About the David Eccles School of Business

Founded in 1917 and educating more than 6,000 students annually, the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business offers eight undergraduate majors, four MBAs, six other specialized graduate programs, a Ph.D. in seven areas and executive education curricula. The School is also home to eight institutes, centers and initiatives that deliver academic research and support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. The Eccles School is synonymous with ‘doing.’ The Eccles experience provides a world-class business education with a unique, entrepreneurial focus on real-world scenarios where students put what they learn into practice long before graduation. For more information visit Eccles.Utah.edu or call 801-581-7676.

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