One Teachers Union Has a Sunnier Outlook on Retention

For more than a year we have seen stories like this one from this morning’s Colorado Sun, headlined “‘I can’t do this to myself anymore’: Pandemic stress has driven some Colorado teachers to leave the classroom.”

And of course it cites a survey by the Colorado Education Association, which found that 67% of members “stated they were thinking about leaving the field in the near future.”

These surveys do a fine job of filling space in news sites’ tales of woe, but they don’t reflect the overall trend in retirements and quit rates.

For the first and maybe only time, we have a state teachers union president who noticed that maybe the sky isn’t falling.

In the latest issue of Ohio Schools, the member publication of the Ohio Education Association, president Scott DeMauro had this to say about teachers leaving the profession:

“Given these difficulties, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that educators are leaving in droves. The numbers, however, tell a different story. In fact, there is little evidence in data from the Ohio Department of Education, the retirement systems, or our membership suggesting a mass exodus. To the contrary, most of our colleagues are staying.”

DeMauro credits the union for this happy state of affairs, but I don’t begrudge him for it. Most unions could just as easily have used this line, which offers a positive image of the union and recognizes what the statistics are telling us.

But I’ll bet we won’t see a story with the headline, “Despite pandemic stress, most educators are staying.”

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