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Back to school: Study identifies reasons why Colorado teachers leave their schools

Study: Pay, subject area and age are factors
Posted: 6:35 AM, Aug 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-21 10:52:49-04

Keeping quality teachers in the classroom is a challenge for many school districts around Colorado.

A new study aims to give schools information that could help them retain teachers. Regional Educational Laboratories worked with education departments in Colorado, Missouri and South Dakota to gather data on salary, age, subject area, and school performance.

The state specific data for Colorado showed:

  • Special education teachers were 104 percent more likely to be movers than were other teachers.
  • Teachers who had been teaching in the same school for fewer than four years were 49 percent more likely to be movers than were teachers who had been teaching in the same school for four or more years.
  • Teachers with salaries lower than $55,341 were more likely to be movers than those who made the same or more.
  • Teachers 49 years or older were 55 percent more likely to be leavers than were teachers who were 40–48.
  • Teachers who had been teaching in the same district for four or more years were 30 percent more likely to be leavers than were teachers who had been teaching in the same district for fewer than four years.
  • Teachers in schools identified by the Colorado Department of Education for priority improvement due to low student achievement were 152 percent more likely to be movers than were teachers in schools not identified for improvement.
  • Teachers in schools identified by the Colorado Department of Education for focus improvement due to low student achievement were 52 percent more likely to be movers than were teachers in schools not identified for improvement.

While salary was a driving factor, school districts in Colorado have looked for creative ways to retain teachers when raising pay isn't possible. For example, the Brighton 27J School District switched to a four-day week last year because it was losing teachers to higher-paying districts.

The study was completed for the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

You can read the full study results by clicking here.