July 25, 2014

 

According to a new report, teacher turnover in Indiana has cost Hoosier taxpayers up to $45 million. The study comes on the heels of reports of large teacher vacancies occurring around the state. The study is a reminder that teacher turnover not only hurts children directly but also already struggling school district’s budgets.

 

The report published this month by the Alliance for Excellent Education using data from 2008-09 showed that over 4,700 teachers left teaching in Indiana at a cost up to $9,501 per teacher.

 

Just this week, Indianapolis Public Schools announced that nearly 200 teachers have resigned or retired from the school system. Using the organization’s estimates for replacing those teachers, these losses could cost IPS almost $2 million.

 

Teacher turnover doesn’t just cost school districts millions of dollars every year; it is the children attending our public schools that pay the greatest price. Our state’s children deserve high quality educators who are focused on their education and not about job security.

 

The climate for teaching and learning created by policies enacted since 2008 are likely to blame. The dramatic expansion of charter schools, private school vouchers, pension cuts, A-F labeling, new rules for teacher evaluations using student test scores and the de-professionalizing of educator licensing are just a few examples of what has been done to lower teacher morale.

 

Another key factor for turnover is the stagnant wages for teachers in Indiana.  The trend which has affected all public school employees is preventing many districts from competitively compensating its employee---all this despite a reported $2 billion surplus for the most recent fiscal year.

 

It is time for our legislature and Governor to refocus its attention back on one of our state’s most important assets – Indiana’s public schools. Otherwise, the vast majority of our children will pay the price.