- California will collect data from teachers who plan to resign from their districts, under a law newly signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The measure requires the state’s Department of Education and its Commission on Teacher Credentialing to develop a survey by July 1, 2023.
- The survey will ask departing teachers whether they are planning to exit the profession altogether. The law encourages districts to administer the survey within 15 days of a teacher’s resignation starting in the 2023-24 school year.
- Data from these surveys will be published annually by the commission and used by the state legislature in considering statewide investments for teacher recruitment and retention efforts, the law states.
The California law takes a step other state education leaders have said needs to occur to help understand and better address teacher recruitment and retention efforts for state and local education agencies.
In an August Education Commission of the States webinar on teacher shortages, Jhone Ebert, Nevada superintendent of public instruction, said more teacher workforce data could help K-12 leaders identify and remove barriers to recruiting and keeping educators in the profession. In Nevada, Ebert said statewide data indicates a struggle to retain teachers, but she added she was unsure why because no statewide exit survey data is available.
As debates swirl around whether teacher shortages are widespread, surveys at both the national and state levels continue to show concerns about low pay, burnout and the politicization of the profession causing poor recruitment and retention of teachers, which leads to fears of understaffed classrooms.
Overall, more than half of public school leaders (53%) recently said they felt their schools were understaffed going into the 2022-23 school year, according to a survey of 904 schools released in September by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. But NCES data also shows schools found it slightly less difficult to hire staff than originally expected in June 2022.
In California, there might be a reason for worry, as a September survey of 4,632 California Teachers Association members found four out of 10 educators polled saying they’ve considered leaving the classroom. Some 76% of respondents recommended improving educator pay as the top priority for state and local officials in the state.
Some California districts, such as the Milpitas Unified School District, have seen educators leave the area for more affordable locations. As a short-term solution, Milpitas has asked families to rent rooms to teachers to help provide them with an affordable place to live.